There is coverage running today in The Guardian and the Independent about the food charity network FareShare, which reports it is delivering more than double the usual amount of food to charities supporting vulnerable people.
FareShare has reported that in the month after lockdown was announced, it distributed 3,208 tonnes of food – enough to create almost 2m meals a week. It has also seen a strong response from volunteers. In just one week in April, more volunteers signed up sort, pack and deliver food than in the whole of last year.
The government is responding to the increased pressure food charities are facing and, earlier this month, allocated funding of up to £16 million for frontline charities that are providing food to those in need. The programme is being delivered through charity partners including FareShare, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and other food distributors.
FareShare also specifically referred to a pilot scheme that Defra launched last year to cover the costs of redirecting surplus food from producers and growers. This pilot was announced in January 2019 – we will be evaluating its success and making further decisions in due course.
A Defra spokesperson said:
We continue to support redistribution organisations getting food to those in need through our work with the WRAP Resource Action Fund. Most recently we provided a series of grants to help redistribution organisations both large and small respond to the impact of coronavirus.
We will look to evaluate the pilot programme and any further funding decisions will be made in due course.
For more guidance on accessing food and essential supplies during the crisis, please see here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-accessing-food-and-essential-supplies