JCI UK is raising awareness of responsible consumption and production of food with our Love Your Leftovers campaign. That’s why we’re delighted to share our latest guest blog, written by Katie Sadler, Programme Manager with FareShare Go.
FareShare is the UK’s largest food redistribution charity. They provide charities and community groups access to free surplus food that would otherwise go to waste, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 12.
If you’d like to get involved with FareShare’s fantastic work, the charity has various voluntary opportunities available, from social media ambassador to community fundraiser to warehouse assistant.
Written by Katie Sadler, Programme Manager with FareShare Go
This year FareShare will have been in operation for 25 years! Although we are approaching our 25th birthday, a large proportion of the general public remain unaware of the great work we do across the UK; this is mainly due to the fact that historically our work has been directly with the food industry, manufacturers and suppliers across the food chain. However, as food poverty and environmental awareness rise higher in the public eye, FareShare is continuing to expand to challenge these critical issues in fighting hunger and tackling food waste.
Across the country, FareShare operates 21 Regional Centres where edible surplus food is redistributed from the food supply chain out to charities and voluntary organisations in their local areas. Products range from ambient goods, chilled food, produce and dairy; these are then utilised by local charities, who can turn the food into nutritious meals to distribute as part of their services to people in need.
We also work in partnership with a number of supermarkets who donate surplus food from their stores directly to local charities. Over the past 3 years, this service has grown monumentally, starting with 20 stores in one region of the country, to now operating in nearly 3,000 stores in almost 1,900 towns and cities across the UK.
This new and innovative service has enabled FareShare to significantly increase local impact, with 2018-2019 being our biggest year yet. We now work with more than 10,000 charities who benefit from our service, with the number of people accessing food each week standing at around 900,000. To consider this in a more tangible way, this is the equivalent to redistributing 46.5 million meals and a saving to the charity sector of £33.7 million.
The scope of charities who are using our services is vast, ranging from small breakfast clubs, national associations, day clubs for older people, domestic violence refuges, homeless shelters and everything in between. Essentially, if a charity uses food within its services, we can work with them to provide surplus food to supplement this provision.
Charities have a choice of the service they sign up to. They can opt for a membership service where they can pay a small fee, have choice of food types and their food is delivered to them. Alternatively, or additionally, depending on their budgets, they can access free surplus food from their local supermarket, which they can collect at a certain time of the day. With the collection from store service, charities have a dedicated day of the week (and time) to collect this food on a weekly basis. Plus, they also have the option of collecting additional bonus donations if there are other days of the week available.
The stories and feedback that we receive from our charities tells us how valuable and important this food is to them.
Shree Jalaram Mandir
Shree Jalaram Mandir is a community centre in Greenford that has been redistributing surplus food to homeless people in London for more than 6 years. Dr Mansukh Morjaria, Trustee at the temple, said: “Without the contribution from Tesco and FareShare, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. It has made a massive impact on our ability to serve the homeless and needy community. Nearly 80% of the food we get is from Tesco and FareShare – if we don’t have that we wouldn’t be able to give anything to the homeless people.”
1 in 5 charities have informed us that they may have had to close if they stopped receiving the food from FareShare. Many of them consider it a lifeline and often it means they can use any money saved from not having to purchase food to use on other vital services.
Food and Education Enterprise
Food and Education Enterprise (FEE Cafe) support local communities in Derby with a focus on BME/refugee groups and isolated people in long-term unemployment. Ali Neghipooran at FEE Cafe said: “In these difficult days, unemployed people, especially the disadvantaged groups struggling financially, face real problems in affording to buy basic food for their families. Our membership with FareShare in partnership with Asda has enabled us to provide a food bank service that many benefit from on a regular weekly basis.”
For us at FareShare, this is where our motivations lie: in being able to support these critical services in local communities and to do that little bit more to help vulnerable people. The volunteers who run these services, from the local cook at the community centre to the mum helping at the afterschool club to the community advocate running the local youth drop-in centre, are all trying to make a difference to someone’s life and make it a bit better. We are privileged to be able to help them by providing the surplus food to complement their offer.
Burton YFC is a youth charity supporting young people in the community by providing activities and food. Sue Garb from Burton YFC said: “As we serve snacks at all our youth clubs and holiday activities, it’s been brilliant to have extra food available. Young people are always hungry and we all enjoy being creative with what we receive. For some young people, it has meant they’ve tried different types of bread and fruit. It’s always fun to see their faces when they realise they actually like something new.”
If you volunteer with a local charity that could benefit from surplus food, please get in touch with FareShare via www.fareshare.org.uk/getting-food/
Tags: community, Love Your Leftovers, SDG12, Volunteering
Categorised in: Community
This post was written by Hannah Woodcock