Helping Grimshaw Food Community Centre support their community through the Cost of Living Crisis

9 June 2022

The Grimshaw Food Community Centre began working with FareShare in 2018 to provide food at holiday markets throughout Preston. When the Covid-19 pandemic caused more people to need support, the charity set up a community market for people to pick up supplies and food parcels. 

“FareShare is the biggest part of our organisation being able to provide food because our community market is pay as you feel,” explained Carol Love, who helps run the Centre’s food service. “I don’t think we would be able to function without FareShare’s input. Their help has put our community service on the map.” 

Carol noted that the organisation “receives a big variety of food from FareShare. We get fruits, vegetables, yoghurts, cereals, cheese, butter, pasta, rice, quite a bit of chilled foods and ready-made meals, and raw foods that we can freeze. We also receive hot and cold drinks, like tea bags, coffee and milk.” 

Distributing FareShare items across the community 

With the help of FareShare and the organisation’s devoted volunteers, including a woman named Diane who prepared 45 food parcels a week for 18 months, the Grimshaw Food Community Centre has been able to deliver supplies throughout Preston. In addition to the parcels and community market, the organisation is finding other ways to utilise its FareShare deliveries so nothing goes to waste. 

“We have freezers, so if any of the foods are near their sell-by date, we can store them in there,” Carol said. “We also have a soup kitchen, so they may use the FareShare food for an event, which they’re very grateful for. If there are leftover fresh foods from the community market, we’ll deliver them to people who we know are struggling. There are some families with young children where the parents do struggle, especially during the school holidays. So for them, the food is quite essential, especially the things like cereal, fresh fruit and ready-made meals.” 

In other cases, the food parcels have allowed the community centre to form relationships with people who live alone and need support. Carol explained that she has a regular man she began delivering parcels to at the start of the pandemic and has since developed a friendly relationship with him.  

“I just happened to call one day, and he was quite ill. It turned out he had developed pneumonia. And since I was the only person who actually was calling him, I was able to get him an ambulance. He was in the hospital for about three weeks. He’s home now, and he’s getting better. He said he didn’t know what he would have done without us. And the food we provide is now a bit of a lifeline for him because he’s still recovering and can’t work.” 

Ensuring all members receive the food they need 

With food prices and the cost of living continuing to rise, the Centre has been working hard to provide food to the increasing number of people who need support. 

“I have noticed an increase in the cost of food which makes quite a difference,” says Carol. “We have started getting more new people, so the demand is increasing. I can see the difference myself. We’ve seen quite a few new faces. In fact, it’s very busy during the day now whereas before I would actually go around and talk to more people. Now I’m not having the same time, I’m going to need more helpers.

“Without FareShare, our budget would probably be gone. I would say that we are saving hundreds of pounds each month. When I think about the amount of food that we get from FareShare for the cost of, say, 40 odd trays, we’ll pay £40. If I had to shop at the supermarket and buy that amount of food, it would well be in the hundreds. So FareShare has been really helpful there.”