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Help the Hungry: Charity doubles emergency food deliveries to 2 million meals a week

UK’s biggest food surplus organisation ‘humbled and overwhelmed’ by support of volunteers and donors

Adam Forrest
Thursday 21 May 2020 07:15 BST
Phoebe Waller-Bridge joins The Independent’s Food For London Now campaign

The UK’s biggest surplus food charity has hailed the “extraordinary” efforts of volunteers after doubling the emergency supplies delivered to people in need since the coronavirus pandemic began.

FareShare is now delivering almost two million meals a week to those at risk of going hungry across Britain during the crisis – up from one million a week before the lockdown.

The organisation said public donations and new partnerships with supermarkets had allowed for a huge increase in the redistribution of produce from the food industry to food banks, refuge centres and after-school clubs.

The Independent’s Help The Hungry campaign is seeking to raise £10m for the London-based food surplus charity The Felix Project so it can provide food for NHS staff, the poor and elderly who are unable to afford supplies or remain stuck at home for health reasons.

The Felix Project has partnered with FareShare in London to get a regular supply of surplus food – which would have otherwise gone to waste – to the local authority-run hubs as part of the emergency redistribution drive.

The £4m raised so far, in conjunction with our sister title the Evening Standard, has empowered The Felix Project to quadruple its deliveries to 40 tonnes a day – providing a lifeline to the vulnerable in the form of more than two million meals since we launched our appeal.

Earlier this week singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding became the latest high-profile celebrity backing the campaign, describing it as a “restoration of human faith” as she joined volunteers delivering food packages in north London.

Olivia Coleman, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the YouTube star KSI have also joined the efforts to get vital supplies out to people struggling to afford or access food.

Releasing its own annual figures on Thursday, FareShare said it had been able to secure nine additional warehouse spaces, allowing them to provide regular supplies to 500 additional local charities since the crisis began.

The charity said it had been able to deliver more than 3,000 tonnes of food a month since lockdown restrictions came in – thanks to a huge spike in new volunteers and an increase in supplies coming from supermarkets, wholesalers and farmers.

Ellie Goulding joined Felix Project volunteers to get food out to vulnerable people (Lucy Young)

The charity said 1,300 people signed up to help deliver food in their community in April – more than in the whole of the rest of the year.

“We’ve been humbled and overwhelmed by the support shown by our volunteers, corporate supporters, partners, funders, and by the thousands of people who have donated,” said FareShare CEO, Lindsay Bowell.

“It is because of them we have been able to rapidly scale up our response, supplying more frontline charities with food, getting more delivery vans on the road, opening new warehouses, and moving vital food supplies up and down the UK.”

The Independent is encouraging readers to help groups that are trying to feed the hungry across the UK during the crisis – find out how you can help here. Follow this link to donate to our appeal campaign in London in partnership with the Evening Standard.

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