Greater Manchester charity delivers a million meals to those in need during coronavirus crisis

Since lockdown began, the region’s biggest food charity FareShare has doubled the amount of food it distributes each week
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The region’s biggest food charity has doubled the amount of food it distributes each week since lockdown began.

More than 50,000 vulnerable people across Greater Manchester are accessing food from FareShare Greater Manchester each week – almost twice as many as it was helping to feed before the coronavirus outbreak.

Last year, the Openshaw charity redistributed over 1,268 tonnes of in-date surplus food from the food industry to 250 charities, including school breakfast clubs, food banks and community centres – enough to create 3 million meals.

In the nine weeks following lockdown, the charity has distributed 397 tonnes of food to frontline charities across the region – with food volumes distributed almost doubling week on week.

Read more: How Manchester organisations are helping to feed key workers and other people in dire need

As well as fresh food, the charity is supplying packets and tins to local charities and several Greater Manchester local authorities to help create food parcels for those who are vulnerable or self-isolating.

Poplar Street Primary in Tameside, which typically uses FareShare food breakfasts and after school clubs for its pupils, is now delivering using FareShare food to deliver food parcels to families – with 100 delivered in the last week.

“Schools might have closed through the lockdown but in many respects our partnership with FareShare has enabled Poplar Street Primary to become a different kind of community hub,” said headteacher Iain Linsdell.

“Without FareShare, there would be hardship and hunger on a scale that we’ve probably never experienced in our communities, but through our partnership we’re able to reach our community, providing families with a weekly food delivery which stops them from having to go out to the shops and spend money they really can’t afford. It’s keeping our community connected in a way that’s familiar and reassuring.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “FareShare have done phenomenal work delivering food to charities and local authorities throughout our city-region, helping them provide vital services like food banks, breakfast clubs, and food parcels for people who already found themselves in challenging circumstances before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“These challenges aren’t going away, and the work of charities like FareShare will be critical to maintaining that support as we look to recover from this period and build back in a way that’s fairer and better for all.”

As the effects of coronavirus impact the economy, the charity believes need will only continue to rise in the difficult months ahead. In response, it has launched a £500,000 fundraising campaign to appeal for donations to fund warehouse refurbishment and meet rising demand.

FareShare is run by environmental charity EMERGE. To find out more and donate to FareShare Greater Manchester visit: www.faresharegm.org.uk

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