‘I asked for Henry at Morrison’s and was left feeling emotional’

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With the cost of living crisis biting hard, Morrisons wanted to help those in need by providing a free meal in its cafés across the country.

The supermarket’s “Ask for Henry” campaign, in partnership with Heinz beans, ran across its 397 cafés, with over 160,000 meals handed out to the public.

During the scheme, anyone could have asked for “Henry” and they would have received a jacket potato topped with Heinz Beanz for free, no questions asked.

The code word was to ensure struggling customers had their needs met discreetly without feeling judged or embarrassed.

Prior to the scheme ending, Yorkshire Live reporter Megan Shaw visited her local Morrisons in Meltham, West Yorkshire, to try it out for herself.

Here is how she got on.

Megan wrote: “I was so nervous and felt embarrassed of what people would think of me, which I’m very aware is not a bad problem to have when the heart-wrenching and humbling reality is that some people don’t have a choice.

“I approached the till to be greeted with a smile from a friendly staff member who asked me what I would like, I said ‘I have been told I can ask for Henry?’

“The staff member smiled and repeated back to me at a low volume ‘a Henry? Of course you can’, she immediately handed me a table number and told me to take a seat anywhere I liked.

“I had been so nervous and gone over and over what I was going to say in my head and I needn’t have worried.

“She brought over the hot meal in minutes with a smile and said ‘enjoy’, I felt instantly at ease and no different to any other paying customer who was in there.

“The meal was simple but really nice, healthy and filling.

“The jacket potato was cooked to perfection and was filled with an ample amount of beans and served with a tasty side salad.

“I left feeling full, warm and with my dignity intact.

“The staff couldn’t have been kinder and the whole process was easy, straightforward and discreet.

“As I was eating my meal I noticed an elderly man go to the till and also order a Henry for himself, he was treated with the same level of kindness and customer service as I had been.

“I was really pleased to see that the scheme is able to help those in need, it was good to see it in action and while sadly, the help from this collaboration is a drop in the ocean in fixing the wider problem, I will certainly sleep better tonight knowing that man has a warm meal in his belly and thanks to Morrison’s, many others do too.

“Overall, I was really impressed with the service I received from staff, the quality of meal and the general experience and I would urge anyone who needs it to please do so without hesitation.

“For transparency, as I didn’t need this meal and wouldn’t want to take it from somebody who does, I offered to pay for it afterwards explaining that I was conducting a social experiment for an article.

“I was told by the very friendly staff that they didn’t have an option to process payment for the meal on the till and that it would not be necessary.

“Therefore, I donated the cost of the meal, which would have cost me £4.48, in the charity box instead.

“I asked the staff how the scheme has been going and if they have had many people using it.

“One staff member told me it has been very popular, especially at after school time where they have seen a lot of single parent’s come in to the café with their children to make use of the offer”

Morrison’s café worker Lisa Williams said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic to be able to help people who need it throughout the cost of living crisis, I think it has come as a huge relief for many.”

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