FareShare, the country’s biggest charity fighting hunger and food waste, redistributed enough food in Croydon in the past year for almost 1million meals.
The charity, which has the backing of England footballer Marcus Rashford, says that the extent of its work “show the devastating impact the pandemic has had on communities and families in Croydon”.
FareShare’s annual statistics confirm that between April 2020 and April 2021, it redistributed 388tons of food to people at risk of hunger in Croydon.
That’s the equivalent of 924,654 meals.
Across the UK, FareShare redistributed more than 132million meals, or four meals every second of every day.
FareShare takes delivery of surplus good-to-eat food which is unsold or unwanted by the food industry, sorts it in one of its 30 regional warehouses and passes it on to a network of nearly 11,000 charities and charity groups.
These organisations then turn this nutritious food into meals for vulnerable families and individuals, many of whom are struggling with unemployment, low income, debt, homelessness, family break up, dependency or other issues.
FareShare’s annual statistics show that in 2020-2021, it supplied an average of 2,538,276 meals every week to people struggling to get enough to eat, more than twice what it redistributed in the previous year.
Of the 10,542 charities and community groups FareShare supports through its network, 92 are based in Croydon. Of those, 9-in-10 say they have experienced unprecedented demand for food throughout the pandemic. And that is borne out by the figures.
Each of these organisations received an average of 5.2 tons of food via FareShare – equivalent of 12,530 meals – an increase of 139 per cent compared to 2019-2020.
Lindsay Boswell, FareShare’s CEO, said: “These figures show the scale of just how many people have been struggling to get enough to eat, during the last year in Croydon and all across the UK.
“Our warehouses, staff, volunteers and our network of charities have been working flat out, to support the millions of people and families who are going hungry. But just because the lockdown is easing doesn’t mean people won’t still be struggling. Our charities tell us need is still high, and our work continues.”
FareShare is calling on government and industry to do much more to stop food waste, as part of a green post-pandemic recovery. More than one-third of the food FairShare redistributes, 20,000 tons, now comes via its pioneering Surplus with Purpose scheme.
Set up with a one-off government grant two years ago, Surplus with Purpose works with small-scale farmers, growers and suppliers to save food that is rejected for consumer sale, for being the wrong shape or size, or because of production errors, and helps them with the cost of redistributing this fresh food, rather than let it rot in the ground, used for animal feed or sent to landfill.
The Surplus with Purpose scheme is already being supported by some supermarkets, as an example of best practice. And with the UN Food Summit and COP26 happening later this year, FareShare wants to see government and industry working together to roll out the scheme across the country to help cut waste and carbon emissions.
James Persad, Head of Marketing at FareShare, said: “Food waste is a huge contributor to global warming. It accounts for at least 8 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s around three times pre-covid levels of emissions from the aviation industry.
“About one-third of all the food we produce in the world is wasted each year. In the UK alone more than 2million tons of food is good-to-eat when it is thrown away, and with people still going hungry, that’s scandalous.
“If the UK is serious about cutting its carbon emissions, reducing food waste must be a big part of that, and FareShare’s Surplus with Purpose scheme can help industry and government lead the way.”
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