We continue a full national operation to get food to vulnerable people during the Covid-19 crisis.

Coronavirus outbreak: FareShare calls for more food, funding and volunteers to support the most vulnerable

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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:

  • FUNDING: FareShare last year received trial funding from Government to enable the food industry to divert its surplus food to charities at no extra cost. The charity is now calling on Government to accept the lessons from the trial and make available £5 million to support farmers, growers, manufacturers and distributers to safely and quickly divert food to FareShare without incurring additional costs
  • FOOD: FareShare is also calling on the food industry to step up and divert more surplus food to charities. Research shows that more than 650 million meals worth of surplus food still goes to waste within the supply chain each year – despite being fit for human consumption. Suppliers wishing to divert food to FareShare can get in touch here
  • VOLUNTEERS: FareShare relies on volunteers and anticipates it will need many more people to help in the warehouses, vans and offices to create food orders and deliver them to charity and community partners. Anyone who is able to support those more vulnerable than themselves and is willing to help in the warehouse, office or on the vans, can register to show their interest here

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.”