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FareShare: UK food industry must act to reduce hunger

23 October 2012

Figures released by food redistribution charity FareShare show community organisations across the UK are experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people needing food. A staggering 59% of the charities surveyed reported a rise in demand for food by their clients, as people are increasingly struggling to feed themselves and their families.

Additionally, 42% of charities surveyed are facing funding cuts, with more than one in ten saying they will either have to stop providing food or reduce their level of service as a direct result of the cuts.

It appears there’s no respite in sight with 70% of respondents fearing demand for food will only increase in the future.

Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive, FareShare said: “This research tells us an unprecedented number of people are going hungry across the country. We also know about 3 million tonnes of food is wasted every year in the UK. If just 1% of that waste was fit for human consumption and redistributed to FareShare, we could provide an incredible 70 million meals to those who need it most.

“We’re urging the food industry to look at what is happening to their surplus food and do the right thing with it. Sending it to FareShare will mean we can deliver even more to those who need it, and help feed some of the most vulnerable people in our community in a time of real need.”

Alarmingly, the survey also shows FareShare has seen a 57% increase in the number of breakfast clubs feeding hungry children in need of food.

Mike O’Brien, Head Teacher, St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School, Greater Manchester, said: “Brinnington is a deprived area and around 40% of the children are on free school meals. Teachers have noticed an increase in the number of children arriving at school hungry over the last year, so we target these children to make sure they have something to eat in the morning.

“Our breakfast club was established in 2005 and 50-60 children now attend each day,” said  O’Brien.

The breakfast club at St Bernadette’s receives surplus food from FareShare fortnightly.

FareShare helped to relieve some of this pressure last year by rescuing 3,600 tonnes of surplus food and delivering it to a network of over 700 charities and community organisations across the country, including homeless shelters, day centres and children’s breakfast clubs.

This enabled the charity to provide 8.6 million meals for vulnerable people, feeding 36,500 people every day.

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