Working together, the two charities will use FareShare’s food redistribution warehouses and UK-wide network of 11,000 frontline charities and the Red Cross’s crisis response volunteers, equipment, space and resources to significantly increase the amount of food distributed to those in need.
With one in eight people in the UK already struggle to access food, and an estimated 10 million already in or facing financial hardship, the need for food will only become more acute over the coming weeks and months. Demand for FareShare’s food has soared since lockdown measures began, and the amount of food it has delivered to frontline charities has increased by 90% during this time. To help get more food out to date the charity has secured nine additional warehouse units across the UK.
The two charities will work together to source food and create a ‘last mile’ delivery service that will see British Red Cross community reserve volunteers packing and delivering food parcels from local distribution hubs onto the doorsteps of vulnerable people. This will help those who urgently need food during the crisis, and in the difficult months that follow, when many more people are expected to face increased financial strain and at serious risk of going hungry. Almost 1,400 Red Cross community reserve volunteers have so far signed up to sort, pack and deliver food to charities at FareShare’s 24 regional warehouses, with many already having started their first shift.
Lindsay Boswell, FareShare Chief Executive, said: “The pandemic presents a challenge like nothing we have ever seen before. Demand for our service has never been higher and we know this will only continue to rise as the effects of coronavirus impact the economy.
“It’s therefore more important than ever that we work collaboratively across the not-for-profit sector, and with the private and public sectors, to ensure the urgent food needs of those most vulnerable are met. Working in partnership with the Red Cross, we hope to unlock more donations of food from the industry, as well as the funding needed to ensure we can continue to get food to those who need it most – not just during the crisis, but in the difficult months and years to come.”
Mike Adamson, British Red Cross CEO, said: “The British Red Cross has a 150-year history of ensuring that people’s needs are met in a crisis. It is shocking to see the scale of food poverty in the UK today and how much it has worsened because of coronavirus. We are pleased to be supporting the excellent work of FareShare and its members on the frontline with our resources and volunteer power. We look forward to working with them, alongside national and local government and others, on longer-term solutions to prevent people struggling to feed themselves and their families, both during and beyond this crisis.”