Food charity FareShare Merseyside is calling on volunteers in Liverpool to help by helping sort, pack and deliver food to frontline charities supporting those most at risk of hunger and malnutrition as the Coronavirus crisis develops.
The charity gets good quality nutritious food to over 230 charities across Merseyside and the Wirral, including homeless hostels, school breakfast clubs, domestic violence refuges and older people’s lunch clubs. With the closure of schools, workplaces and public spaces, the charity is anticipating a significant increase in demand for its service.
Ann Dobie, Development Manager of FareShare Merseyside, said: “We expect that many of our projects, particularly those supporting older people, will no longer be able to offer communal meals. If that’s the case then we’ll have to find a way to get food parcels to those who are most at risk, and we may well need people to pack and deliver individual food parcels.
“Unfortunately, as self-isolation measures kick in we are also at risk of losing regular volunteers, so the need is now extremely urgent. We desperately need more people to step in to help us get food to those who are vulnerable.”
The charity is taking every measure to protect its volunteers, with training on handling food safety and hand washing and sanitiser facilities available.
If you are healthy, under 70, and have not visited Italy, Iran or parts of China or South Korea in the last 14 days – and have not had contact with a person with a confirmed case of the virus – and would like to help, please contact register online at www.fareshare.org.uk/volunteer.
Alongside appealing for more volunteers locally, FareShare is calling on the food industry to step up and divert more surplus food to charities. Research shows that over 650 million meals worth of surplus food still goes to waste within the supply chain each year – despite being perfectly edible.
FareShare is also appealing to Government to make available £5 million to support farmers, growers, manufacturers and distributers to safely and quickly divert food to FareShare without incurring additional costs – this would follow trial funding from Government last year which helped the food industry divert an additional 2,200 tonnes of surplus food at no extra cost.
Related read – Our previous FareShare feature from January: Merseyside food charity to provide 550,000 additional meals to vulnerable people each year