More charities and families than ever before are now benefitting from the food schemes provided by FareShare East Midlands.
The regions leading distributor of quality surplus food has already distributed more than 1,000 tonnes of chilled and ambient foods to frontline organisations that are leading the fight against food poverty in the city and the wider region. Thats enough food to make 2.3 million meals! And, during the Christmas and New Year periods, FareShare East Midlands is stepping up efforts to distribute up to 126 tonnes of additional support the equivalent of 300,000 meals so tens of thousands of local children and adults are able to feed themselves during December and the early part of January.
So many people are about to face the hardest part of the year, when feeding themselves and their families becomes a really hard task, commented Simone Connolly, Director of FareShare East Midlands.
Our goal is to ensure as many people as possible benefit from the schemes we offer. Thats why were stepping up efforts to make as much food available as we possibly can. FareShare East Midlands has already delivered a record-breaking performance in 2018, smashing records galore in its 10th anniversary year.
Between January and November, 1,115 tonnes of food (2.738 million meals) have been distributed to more than 250 Member organisations throughout the region. This is a 35% year-on-year growth. Latest official figures make sobering reading, with more than 19,000 young people aged 18, and under, living in Derby officially classified as living in poverty while 33% of the citys overall adult population is classed as poor. And the situation is just as bleak throughout the county. If anything, these figures are an underestimate of the true scale of the problem, added Simone Connolly.
A lot has changed since this research was conducted. So, when the next set of official figures are published in 2019, I expect to see a significant leap. At FareShare East Midlands, several factors are driving the growth in our numbers. For starters, the FareShare network across the UK is now benefitting from greater volumes of food being diverted to us by the food industry. Families are also becoming more and more aware about the solutions that exist when they do find themselves in difficulty. This has to be a good thing. So, too, has to be the work going into eradicating the stigma associated with food poverty by local and national businesses, the media and the wider Third Sector.
All of this work is really starting to make a difference. But while there has undoubtedly been progress in recent months, Simone Connolly and her FareShare colleagues remain deeply concerned about what she calls the unmet need in Derby and the wider East Midlands. On a practical level, we have transformed the way we have worked so we are able to do more. Thats why we have opened a third new warehouse funded largely by ASDA, growing our capacity to distribute ever-greater amounts of food. We have also entered into innovative partnerships with organisations like Central England Cooperative Society, which is providing a valuable supply line.
We dont want anyone to go hungry at Christmas and New Year. Thats our goal. And well be doing all we can to make sure we achieve this ambition.