When you take part in our Snap to Donate campaign, and upload a photo of a Coke bottle with the FareShare logo, you start an incredible story that ends with a vulnerable person in the UK receiving a nutritious meal. So what happens between you snapping a pic and somebody tucking into that plate of food? We follow the journey from bottle to plate…
Heard about Snap to Donate? It’s
Off the shelf
It all starts when you buy a
The special labels can be found on 500ml bottles of
Snap and upload
Before – or after – you enjoy your drink, take a picture of the FareShare logo on the bottle and upload your snap to our website: cocacola.co.uk/donate
Into the pot
After you upload your snap,
FareShare add your 25p to their other donations from Snap to Donate and other sources, and use it to do something amazing…
Meet the FareShare food heroes
FareShare work closely with the UK food and drink industry, including a number of supermarkets and manufacturers. They redistribute surplus food and drink that’s fresh, in-date and tasty to charities all over the UK.
“FareShare works in partnership with food and drink businesses to help them identify where surpluses occur in their business and to put processes in place to redistribute those surpluses as early as possible to feed people in need,” says Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO.
“No matter how efficient, when operating at scale it is inevitable that every food business will find themselves with surplus food that they cannot sell at some point, for a whole host of reasons such as changes to customer orders, incorrect forecasting, short shelf life of products, unseasonable weather, damaged packaging or mislabelling.”
Surplus stock comes in all shapes and sizes, from tropical fruit to ready meals. Your 25p helps keep the lights on, fridges running, vans moving and deliveries arriving and leaving the FareShare warehouses.
This is one of FareShare's 20 Regional Centres, where volunteers are busy organising deliveries of food. Because of donations like yours, they can invest in lots of warehouse space. That means long-life goods can be stored away until needed, while perishable things like meat and vegetables can be sorted and distributed fast. In the bustling Regional Centre, stock comes and goes daily.
Although the Regional Centres aren’t selling or serving food, they follow the same strict rules as supermarkets and food producers. “By complying with the same food safety legislation that applies to the food and drink industry, our charity members can be confident that the food they receive from us is safe for even the most vulnerable person to eat,” says Lindsay.
These volunteers are part of a whole army of helpers who keep the FareShare operation running. Some work in warehouses, while others drive vans or are on the phones allocating food orders to local charities. There’s also a core team of full-time FareShare staff and trustees who manage things and plan for the future of the charity. Donations help cover energy costs, fuel the vans and keep the team in action.
Natalie Constable, Part-Time Shift Coordinator at the London Regional Centre, started out as a volunteer. “When volunteering at FareShare you will meet many different people from many different backgrounds, some needing more help and support then others,” she explains. “It’s very rewarding to work at FareShare because you’re not only helping our volunteers to achieve more through working with us, but you’re also helping all the charities that we deliver to as well.”
Mixing it up
For each delivery, volunteers gather a selection of food and drink from around the warehouse and pack it into trays. The food deliveries that FareShare's charity members receive are balanced to include a bit of everything that will enable someone to have a decent meal – from bread, fish, vegetables and meat to a drink to enjoy with it.
The variety and quality of food is really important to the charities who receive it. “We can’t emphasise enough the value of the food we receive,” says Teresa Clements, Project Manager at Brushstrokes Community Project in Sandwell, Birmingham. “Before we worked with FareShare we were only providing tinned food which is not adequate in sustaining health for those living in extreme poverty over a long period of time. FareShare provide an absolutely amazing service that normalises our clients’ diets and makes them feel like everybody else.”
Ready to go
The packed deliveries are grouped together ready to be put into one of the vans. These trays are heading to one of the 2,685 charities and community groups supported by FareShare Regional Centres. There’s a regular pattern of deliveries, which means charities have a reliable, steady source of food.
“Having the food through FareShare means that we don’t have to worry,” says Teresa. “It means we know that we can provide for people no matter how many we need to help that week. For us, it is one of the safety measures we know will be there, it’s regular and we know we will get food each week.”
On the road
Volunteers load up the van, then drive the food to its destination. They’ll be unloading the trays and carrying them into the charity premises, so there are always at least two people in each van to share the workload.
After a quick check to see what’s arrived and a chat with the FareShare volunteers, the charity members make sure the food and drinks go into the fridge or onto the shelves, ready for cooking.
“We are one of the few places where people who are homeless can come and eat a hot cooked meal at a table, with a knife and fork,” says Geoff Hall, Facilities Manager at SIFA Fireside, a charity helping homeless people in Birmingham. “If we didn’t have FareShare then all our freezers full of food would be taken away. It would cost us hundreds of pounds a day to buy the quality of food we get from FareShare. We would be surviving off tinned food otherwise.”
Where the magic happens
In the kitchens, cooks get to work preparing healthy nutritious meals using FareShare food. The variety of dishes is only limited by the chefs’ imaginations.
“We have a chef called Maria who can conjure dishes from whatever we have in stock,” says Geoff. “One of the popular dishes we make with FareShare food is the ‘chick pea special’. This usually involves tinned veg, pulses, tomatoes and beans with meat like pork or beef.”
Dinner is served
Here’s the final step of the journey – a plate of food served up with a smile.
“We make a big variety of meals with FareShare food, such as curries, jacket potatoes, pizza, cake and fruit salads,” says Teresa. “There’s a really nice atmosphere in the café, and there’s a great deal of community spirit.”
It’s the same story at SIFA Fireside. Geoff hears first-hand the difference FareShare meals make to the people who receive them.
“A former beneficiary at SIFA who has now become a volunteer in the kitchen told us that ‘there have been times when I’ve been empty, felt lost without food… This food is making people healthier. It’s giving them a meal that they wouldn’t get on the street’.”
Sophia Webster x
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