Comment on the Daily Mail article, published 9 June:
Last year, FareShare redirected enough food for 12 million meals to 1,296 frontline charities and community projects, which provide food and other support to vulnerable people in society. A lot of these charities, including independent food banks, directly helped people who could not afford food. However, our member charities stretch beyond simply providing food for those who do not have money in their pockets to go out and purchase it themselves, going further to tackle the wider issues of food poverty and address why those living in food poverty are struggling to access food.
Food poverty is not simply a lack of money. People in food poverty are defined as those with low or no income, those who have poor access to affordable nutritious food and those who lack the knowledge, skills or equipment to ensure food is safe and prepared properly. We believe that the government response, and subsequent media coverage, to the recent report by Oxfam has oversimplified the issue and failed to grasp this definition.
FareShare’s mission does not stop at providing food. Through the food we redistribute, we empower the charities we supply to help their beneficiaries tackle the reasons why they are unable to access food for themselves. These reasons can include low household income, but also factors such as lack of education, an addiction to drugs or alcohol, seeking refuge from domestic violence and being physically unable to prepare nutritious food.
Food is often what draws a beneficiary into a charity but it’s the extra services, like counselling, employment advice and housing assistance that really count. These address the causes of poverty and that’s where the help really starts.
The need for food is real. At FareShare, our simple approach works. By engaging effectively with the food industry, including manufacturers and retailers, we ensure that good food is diverted from waste streams and used for its purpose.
Last year, FareShare saved charities and community organisations a total of more than £16 million on their food bills. More than 80% of these charities invested the savings into additional support services for their clients, helping address the wider causes of why they are struggling to feed themselves.
The Trussell Trust has also written a response to the article. Read it here.