Offering a helping hand at food redistribution charity, Fareshare

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We’re used to clocking up the miles on our pedometers when we carry out site visits. But our volunteer day in December certainly challenged our stamina when we stepped into Christmas in a very practical way.

We spent the day with FareShare, the UK’s longest running food redistribution charity, sorting food donations and being part of the team that redistributes food parcels to charities across Manchester.

What’s the problem?

Foodbanks across the UK have increased in number and need over recent years and it’s not just the homeless who are struggling to eat. The cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated the problem further and there are now over 2,500 food banks operating across the UK.

Who is FareShare?

Co-founded in 1994 by Crisis and Sainsbury’s, FareShare’s mission has always been to tackle food poverty by tackling food waste.

Nearly 200,000 tonnes of good food go to waste each year in the supply chain, before it ever reaches a plate.

FareShare partners with the main supermarkets to intercept food that is still good to eat from its suppliers in farms and factories. Their work achieves two important goals in one: minimising surplus food within supermarkets’ supply chain and meeting a practical need by redirecting it to foodbanks, domestic violence shelters, school breakfast clubs and older people’s lunch clubs to name but a few.

In 2021/22, the charity redirected nearly 54,000 tonnes of surplus food to over a million people across the UK.

On top of that, FareShare helps the government save £118m each year, by reducing childcare and food waste disposal costs and through significant savings for the NHS (eg through reducing hospital admissions).

How did we get on?

You can see for yourself! There was plenty to be done and we were kept busy, but we were still smiling at the end of the day.

Here are the stats from the day…

The charity has calculated that:

  • FareShare GM and FareShare+ redistributed 7.84 tonnes of food across Greater Manchester
  • That was enough food to make 18,640 meals
  • The food went to 57 community and charity groups, feeding at least 6,555 people in Manchester, Bolton, Wigan, Oldham and Stockport
  • 90% of this food was classed as surplus, and would have become waste
  • Diverting this food from landfill saved an estimated 29 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) from being released into the atmosphere – equivalent to taking seven cars off the road for a year.

Playing a very small part of the remarkable, hard-working team that makes this happen every day was a true privilege.

Well done everyone involved!

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