Business West employees rolled up their sleeves and spent the day volunteering at the FareShare South West warehouse last week. This inspirational and fast-growing charity diverts unwanted fresh food from supermarkets to 170 diverse local projects around the region such as homeless charities, women’s refuges, dry-out clinics and pensioners’ lunches.
On the day, 5 cooled truckloads of food arrived from supermarkets around the region including Tesco, Morrisons and Asda. We’re not talking about wilted lettuce here. Imagine a huge variety of food from steak, fresh fruit and vegetables and smoked salmon sandwiches to microwave burgers and mustard hot dogs. Often supermarkets over-order or have to remove food from the shelves due to inaccurate labelling on packaging and this was previously thrown out or sent to be turned into animal food.
Alice, Lizzie, Laura and Mary from the marketing team and Jake from the enterprise team helped to categorise, label and refrigerate the food quickly and efficiently before it was then parceled up and sent off to those in need around the region in time for Christmas.
FareShare’s mission is to fight hunger and food waste. They save good food from going to waste, redistribute it around the South West to charities, schools and community groups and turn it into food for vulnerable people. They are growing rapidly with funding secured to increase their warehouse capacity and help even more local organisations in the future. It is unbelievable to think that 1 in 4 children in Bristol go hungry every morning and FareShare’s campaign has given children in vulnerable areas a free or low-cost breakfast. The figures are staggering: 370 tonnes of food was saved from waste and over 880,000 meals were provided in the last year alone. Incredible especially as the charity mainly relies on work from volunteers.
Business West has recently introduced a company programme of corporate social responsibility, encouraging staff to spend 2 days per year doing voluntary work. As a not-for-profit company with an aim of making the area the best place to live and work, Business West wanted to make a difference through their 200 staff. That’s 400 volunteer days each year! The team are looking forward to returning to Fareshare next year to help distribute the food to charities, schools and community groups.
Mary Martin, Director of Marketing who took part in the volunteer day said:
"This is a fantastic charity that really epitomizes the ‘win:win’ scenario – charities benefit from really good food and the supermarkets have an outlet for food that they cannot use. It was such a productive day for us, and we loved meeting the other volunteers and staff – their dedication and enthusiasm was palpable. They all were genuinely proud to be working for Fareshare, and justifiably so, when you hear the statistics. One that struck a chord with me was that as a result of food being offered to one breakfast club in a school in East Bristol, the absentee numbers reduced from 120 children right down to 14 children. We are proud to support the good work that they do in the region and all of us are determined for it not to be a one-off – we will be back!"