Supporting communities to relieve food poverty
FareShare is a national UK charity supporting communities to relieve food poverty
FareShare is at the centre of two of the most urgent issues that face the UK – food poverty and food waste
The charity addresses these issues in three ways:
Providing quality food – surplus ‘fit for purpose’ product from the food and drink industry – to organisations working with disadvantaged people in the community.
Providing training and education around the essential life skills of safe food preparation and nutrition, and warehouse employability training through Fare Share’s Eat Well Live Well programme
Promoting the message that ‘No Good Food Should Be Wasted’
Sometimes when you work for a large corporate organisation, it can be a good thing!!
My company supports a variety of international, national and local charities and we are allowed to volunteer two days a year to help these causes.
Fareshare caught my eye as its food related and they are tackling two major food issues, food poverty and food waste.
Their biggest depot is in Bermondsey; however they do have various depot’s throughout the UK.
Our day started with a tour of the depot and Helen explained how they receive the surplus ‘fit for purpose’ products from the food and drink industry.
These are food or drinks products that are near their sell by date, for these companies to take the product off their shelves, then send back to their depots would of course, cost money, increase carbon emission and the products would probably end up in landfill.
You can see from the pictures that there are products from leading retailers, so you will be pleased to know that the likes of M&S, Sainsbury, and Tesco all donate generously!
Let me stress that these are the companies products I saw however there are plenty of other companies that give as much!
Fareshare have a weekly rota of charities and organisations they provide food for. These are called on the morning to discuss what stock they have and then shopping lists are complied, Its obviously this isn’t like going to the supermarket but calling does cut down on just delivering unwanted products which would then create more waste.
Our volunteer day consisted of two parts, packing the food and then delivering them to the variety of charities or organisations.
We were given a shopping list of products to collect for our given charities, the lists included fresh bread, fruits, vegetable’s, pre packed foods such as takeaway meals, fresh meat and chicken or desserts.
Once the shopping (so to speak) had been completed, they were loaded onto the vans and off we went, equipped with maps to deliver them to different parts of London.
There was three of us in the van, myself and another of my work colleagues and the driver who had just started volunteering on a regular basis, he is currently out of work but wanted to give his time to helping others!
We delivered to woman’s refuge centre, a local primary school, drug rehab and to a local community centre that has a weekly lunch for pensioners and low income families. Everyone we met was really friendly and chatting to them, made you realise how much these places rely on these weekly deliveries. On our way back to the depot we stopped at a local M&S and they gave us four crates full of food, some we had come full circle.
Fareshare’s work saves these charities thousand of pounds a year out of their small budgets and is providing a fantastic services not just to these charities and communities but to the environment as a whole.
My day volunteering was complete, I was glad to learn that there are companies out there that aren’t just adding to land fill but giving to their stock to Fareshare, who in turn do amazing work in ensuring it goes to people who need it!
Fareshare are always looking volunteers all over the UK so if you are interested all the details are on their website.