Families are most likely to experience food poverty in the UK with, inevitably, the poorest being hit the hardest. According to Jen Glyn, Communication and Public Affairs Manager FareShare UK, demand has tripled over the last 18 months driving their ambition to reach 3/4m families this year.
Jaffa recently visited The Church of the Apostles and St Cuthberts in Manchester to see for ourselves how FareShare supports food charities, helping to save good to eat food from going to waste and using it to support those who are most hungry, families, the elderly and the homeless.
We arrived to see a delivery coming in from FareShare that not only included fresh fruit and vegetables but also ambient store cupboard foods and chilled ingredients. By the time this had been added to the shelves you could be forgiven for imagining you were standing in a small convenience store.
“We make sure that there is as much choice as possible for our guests.” says Reverend Eleanor Trimble who runs the Social Supermarket at the Apostles in Manchester. “It is important to give families the opportunity to choose what food they would like. By giving them choice, we give them dignity. It’s just like they are doing their shop.”
That sentiment was also echoed by Jen who says, “Don’t offer a homeless person a sandwich. It is very likely they already have a couple in their backpack. Instead, ask them what they would like from the supermarket and give them the choice and some control.”
Both Eleanor and Jen talked to us about how excited people are when there is fruit available. We asked them how Jaffa oranges get used in recipes but both laughed, saying that they don’t get that far. “The fruit is just snaffled up!”.
We were reminded that for many people fruit and vegetables are just not that affordable, so when we have delicious healthy fruit that children love but cannot be sold in the supermarket, Jaffa knows that it is enjoyed by children and is contributing towards a healthy diet. Eleanor is absolutely right in saying that people thrive with a healthy diet so getting a fresh fruit to people that would not otherwise be able to afford it, is extremely rewarding.
“Sharing food helps people know that they are valued and they are loved.” says Eleanor who sees first hand the faces of people that come to the Social Supermarket and those that receive food parcels through their local community of volunteers. Guests have said that they would not normally eat healthy foods like fruit, but when it is in front of them, it is really nice! “The excitement on their faces says to us that they just don’t have access to this volume of fruit.”
The demand for the food that charities like the Social Supermarket at the Apostles provide is not diminishing. In fact the food tables outside the church need to be re-stocked frequently through the day to fulfil demand. Unfortunately the supply is not limitless. For every meal that the supporters of FareShare give, there is a need for many more.
Jaffa contributes fruit to FareShare to be distributed amongst it’s 11000 charities across the UK and contributes towards the equivalent of 200,000 meals.