Each year the food industry wastes 270,000 tonnes of edible food and FareShare Greater Manchester plays a monumental role in combating this. Every day, come rain or shine, a flurry of vans emerge from a warehouse in the New Smithfield Market on their mission to provide meals for those in need, help combat poverty, and save the environment.
Along with 60 other volunteers, I spent a morning redistributing surplus food around Manchester and reaching out to food banks, primary school breakfast clubs, churches, and homeless shelters to provide food for those who need it the most.
FareShare is simple; it operates nationwide and takes surplus food from supermarkets and food companies and redistributes it. In Greater Manchester they feed over 26,000 people a week through its 200 charity partners. The EMERGE warehouse I went to in Manchester, although small, plays a vital part in this. Volunteers ‘pick’ and sort through the food that is donated, then load it into vans which are driven by a driver and an assistant to reach the chosen charities where the food is unpacked, prepared and given out.
During just one morning of working in the vans with Les, a retiree who for the past four years has been giving one day a week to volunteer, I helped to hand out 3.5 tonnes of surplus food which equates to 8,293 portions. We provided food for homeless shelters, helping to fight the ever-growing homeless crisis in Manchester, and at breakfast clubs in schools to ensure all children are given the opportunity to flourish in education. All this after only three and a half hours of work – imagine what could be achieved in just one day.
My morning of volunteering also helped to save 12.98 tonnes of CO2 emissions as the food that would have gone to landfill sites was instead eaten and enjoyed. In this way, FareShare fights pollution as well as combating hunger. So what’s stopping you from getting involved?
By 2022 FareShare hopes to provide 7 million meals a year and it needs as many volunteers as possible to achieve this. By volunteering at FareShare you can submerge yourself in the local community, get a better feel for Manchester whilst escaping the uni bubble and earn a sense of satisfaction and purpose. You will also have the opportunity to work in a friendly team who have just won The Spirit of Manchester 2019 Award in recognition of their hard work in giving back. 620,000 people in Greater Manchester live in poverty and together with FareShare you can help to provide the vital food these people need.
Getting involved with FareShare Greater Manchester is easy. Whether it’s volunteering in the warehouse or in the vans or if you’re looking for a different experience you could help in their offices, it’s really simple to make an impact. The warehouse is just a 50-minute bus ride from the Fallowfield Sainsbury’s, so put yourself out there, help those in need and change up your week a little.
To get involved head to their website.