John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, wrote to John Marren, head of the Tankersley-based Company Shop, to extend its membership - which for years has only covered NHS, food supply and emergency services staff - to care workers.
The move means thousands of Barnsley care workers, most of which work for independent providers and on zero-hours contracts, will benefit from massively reduced food and household items.
The firm, which has seven branches including its Tankersley headquarters, is the country’s largest redistributor of supermarket surplus goods.
John said the deal would ‘recognise the essential work care workers are doing’ during the coronavirus crisis.
“This coronavirus crisis is making us all see the hidden hardworkers, people who keep the elderly and vulnerable safe, well and fed every day and who have a vital role at this time with people isolating,” he said.
“Care workers are on the frontline just like NHS staff. They’re often poorly paid with many on zero-hours contracts and some are seeing their hours reduced.
“I wanted to do this to recognise the essential work care workers are doing, to say thank you and to give them help with their family food costs.
“Company Shop does a great job in cutting down food waste, reducing shopping costs for key workers and supporting special schemes for families most in need.
“I’m grateful they’ve been open to this idea and put it into action so quickly.”
John Marren, founder and chairman of Company Shop Group, said: “We have always served a membership of NHS, emergency services and FMCG supply chain workers, and we are incredibly proud of the heroic job they are doing on the frontline.
“We are pleased to have been able to work closely with John Healey MP as we further extend our membership to care workers, who are playing a vital role to provide essential care across our region.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our incredible colleagues who are doing an amazing job every day to ensure that the shelves are stocked so that our members can continue to access the food and products they need, whilst helping to stretch family budgets, especially at this challenging time.”
Michelle Fisher, who works at Clarence House care home in Mexborough, added: “This will be a big help and a morale boost.
“Care workers are often poorly paid and sometimes forgotten, and this is recognition for what we’re doing to look after people during this crisis, alongside our fantastic NHS nurses and doctors.”