Vicki Evans is a marketing and communications officer at FareShare. Her job is to spread the word about the organization, which helps redistribute surplus food and drink to charities across the UK. Working with Coca-Cola Great Britain since 2014, FareShare is the charity partner in our Christmas campaign, where fans can upload a photo of their Coke bottle to trigger a donation.
I’m really happy that we’re partnering with Coca-Cola Great Britain for the Snap to Donate campaign. Coke has been providing surplus drinks to FareShare since 2014, so it’s really exciting to see the partnership evolving in a new way. It’s also fantastic that so many people have already taken part – thank you to everyone who has donated so far.
What does FareShare do?
We redistribute good food and drink that would otherwise go to waste. We receive surplus from the UK food and drink industry, sort and pack it, then deliver it to frontline charities and community groups that support vulnerable people. That includes homeless shelters, lunch clubs for older people at risk of social isolation, and domestic violence refuges. They transform the food into nutritious meals which they provide alongside life-changing support.
We have 20 Regional Centres around the UK that deliver the surplus food we receive to local charities via our fleet of vans and volunteer drivers. We’re also able to tap into the food industry’s own transport infrastructure. For example, we deal directly with the Coca-Cola Great Britain transport department in Nottingham to co-ordinate deliveries to our depots.
25p = one meal
Every time someone uploads a photo of their promotional Coke bottle, we receive a 25p donation. That pays for redistribution of enough food for a frontline charity to serve up one meal for someone in need, so it’s a fantastic way to support us.
What kind of food and drink is it?
The type of food we receive really varies – it could be anything from fillet steak to tinned peas, and a lot of it is fresh produce like fruit, vegetables and dairy. All of it is good to eat and in-date. It’s available for redistribution for lots of different reasons, such as when too much stock has been ordered, things have been mislabeled or packaging’s been damaged.
For example, the Coca-Cola system products we redistribute might be promoting an offer that’s now ended, or there might have been a printing error on the label, or damage to boxes. It doesn’t affect the product itself, but means it can’t be sold in the normal way.
So far, Coca-Cola has supplied 513 pallets of surplus drinks from across their brands to FareShare, which have ended up helping charities all over the UK, from Aberdeen to Brighton.
The benefits for charities
The food we provide helps frontline charities cook nutritious meals which fill people up, but there’s more to it than that. Receiving food and drinks from us means the charities can use their budget for other essential things like providing support services, accommodation or facilities to help people back on their feet.
It also gives volunteers and charity service users an opportunity to cook with fresh, high-quality ingredients. We’ve heard from people who have gained new cooking skills, and even rekindled their talent and interest having worked in the food preparation industry in the past.
It’s fantastic that our work’s being promoted through such a large scale campaign with a well-known brand. Our logo is on the bottles, and we’ve already seen lots of coverage in the media about the Snap to Donate Christmas campaign. We want people to know about what we do and how they can help us fight UK food waste and hunger.
A team effort
FareShare works because of the support and goodwill of our volunteers, partners and contacts within the food industry. We also need donations from the public to help us do the work we do, covering costs like our warehouse, vans, admin and so on. The food we receive is free, but the essential work of getting it to the right people costs money.
Big plans for the future
One thing I’ve learned is that there’s always more you can do, and that people really do want to help. There are currently 8.4 million people in the UK who are struggling to afford a meal – that’s equivalent to the whole population of London. At the same time, at least 270,000 tonnes of good, surplus food could be redistributed each year to feed vulnerable people, enough to provide at least 650 million meals – so there is huge potential to do more.
Again, thank you to everyone who’s already donated. If you’d like to find out more about FareShare you can visit our website.
About the author
Vicki Evans is Marketing and Communications Officer at FareShare. She works in the charity’s London office. Find out more about Vicki on LinkedIn.