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21 March 2020
FareShare is calling for more funding, food and volunteers to effectively respond to the Coronavirus outbreak and ensure those most vulnerable are not put at increased risk of hunger.
FareShare’s network of 17 partner organisations cover all four nations of the UK and provide just under 1 million meals a week to 11,000 frontline charities and community groups - all supporting vulnerable people, including those experiencing homelessness, mental health, domestic violence, loneliness and families using breakfast, after school and holiday clubs to make ends meet and allow children to learn without hunger.
As the Coronavirus situation develops rapidly, we anticipate we could see increasing demand for our service, particularly in the event of closures of schools, workplaces and public spaces and people self-isolating.
Many of the charities FareShare supports also provide communal meals which could be forced to close in the event of a lockdown. In order to ensure those at risk do not fall through the gap, we are preparing to evolve our operational model which could shift food provision to food parcels that could be either given or collected by people in need – as opposed to supplying the ingredients for communal meals. We are also assessing the ability of our network of 11,000 charities, including schools, to act as a local redistributor of food parcels.
The outbreak requires a complex response and as such FareShare has launched an urgent appeal with three key asks:
Lindsay Boswell, FareShare Chief Executive, said: "The situation around Coronavirus is unprecedented and developing fast, and we are working as a UK-wide network of redistribution organisations to meet the changing needs of local organisations on the ground and ensure we are best prepared for all possible outcomes.
“We continue to work with the food industry to redistribute surplus food and the support of Government DEFRA funding has helped us unlock over 2,200 tonnes of additional food for charities, including fruit and veg. We hope that government will continue to fund this initiative which has proven effective in diverting large volumes of food to those in need.
“FareShare has capacity to double the volume of food we redistribute but in order to ensure those most vulnerable are protected, we urgently call on Government, the food industry and public to help us step up to this challenge.”