FareShare South West forms part of the UK’s largest food charity, FareShare, one of a network of 21 similar centres located across the country. It is a community of independent franchised charities, all fighting the same issues: food waste and hunger.
Over 270,000 tonnes of perfectly edible surplus food is thrown away each year. Fare Share wants to see that food put to good use. The vast majority of surplus occurs before food even gets to the supermarket. Each FareShare regional centre takes that food and redistributes to those in need. FareShare Go is the supermarket collection service, which deals with supermarket-level surplus.
FareShare South West was formed in 2007 to help tackle the food poverty issue in the South West by redistributing surplus food across the region. By using quality, in date surplus food which would otherwise have gone to waste, they turn an environmental problem into a social solution. Previously, it had focused on Bristol, Avon and Wiltshire with plans to expand to Devon and Cornwall, but Covid-19 accelerated this.
In May, 2020, they expanded into Devon and Cornwall, saying:
Our expansion into Devon & Cornwall has been made possible by funding from Asda – through the three-year Fight Hunger Create Change partnership between Asda, FareShare and the Trussell Trust – along with a number of smaller funders.
By June, they said:
We have delivered enough food to create 536,113 meals to frontline charities supporting vulnerable people since lockdown measures began – all possible due to the extraordinary efforts of our volunteers and supporters.
In the eight weeks following the lockdown, demand for our service soared and as a result more than 225 tonnes of in-date, good quality food has been redistributed in just nine weeks. This quantity is put into perspective, as over the course of the last year 606 tonnes were distributed in total. As well as fresh food, we’re providing more ambient food than ever, with packets and tins to help create food parcels for those who are struggling and self-isolating, as well as to help food banks keep stocked as they see unprecedented demand.
Julian Mines, CEO of FareShare South West, said:
“Because of the lockdown many more families and individuals are finding themselves in really tough circumstances, and demand for our food has skyrocketed. We’re doing everything we can to continue to get food onto people’s plates, whether that’s delivering fresh food to homeless hostels and domestic violence refuges, or supplying community organisations with the packets and tins they need to get vital food supplies onto the doorsteps of families who are self-isolating.
“We’re incredibly grateful to our team of volunteers who have gone above and beyond to get this food out, and to the local community for supporting us with food, PPE and financial donations.
These are tough times for everyone and it’s so heartening to see our community pull together to get food out to people who need it during this crisis.”
You can donate to their emergency Coronavirus fund here.