More than 10 tonnes of food has been distributed to vulnerable people in Cornwall over just five weeks
The food charity FareShare South West takes in date surplus food at scale from the food industry and redistributes it to support people in need across Devon and Cornwall via local groups and charities.
RE:ACT, a rapid disaster response charity, and the British Red Cross joined together to establish and operate an emergency collection point from the Sowton Industrial Estate in Exeter.
From this emergency collection point, two major hubs in Cornwall have been supplied with food. The food has then been distributed to nine frontline projects.
The scheme, which was only launched five weeks ago, has so far distributed food for 25,001 meals for vulnerable people in the county.
It has provided support to people that prior to the coronavirus were already suffering from food insecurity, exacerbated by the impact of the measures implemented as part of the response to the pandemic.
Rich McSweeney, South West co-ordinator for RE:ACT, hailed what he saw as a “truly collaborative effort”, saying: “RE:ACT is thrilled to be working in partnership with FareShare and British Red Cross to help support communities tackling increased food poverty during Covid-19. Using our logistical expertise, RE:ACT helped establish and run the Emergency Collection Point in Exeter that has enabled local charities in Devon and Cornwall to get the provisions they desperately needed. Together, in total across the two regions, we’ve distributed nearly 30 tonnes of food, making a huge difference to families and individuals. This has been a truly collaborative effort and a wonderful experience to be involved in.”
Debbie Carrig, emergency response officer for British Red Cross, said it was “an example of the power of kindness in action”, adding: “The British Red Cross Exeter office is currently being used as a distribution centre for multiple voluntary organisations, including FareShare South West and RE:ACT, to help local food banks support people experiencing extreme food poverty across the South West.
“The deployment was initially scheduled for a four-week period but was extended to five weeks due to the success of the project. We have used two TM36 6×6 tents situated in the Exeter office car park to sort deliveries before sending them out to hundreds of food banks and charities throughout the region.
“We’re enormously proud of our Red Cross emergency response volunteers. They have been doing an amazing job; marshalling delivery lorries, food pallets, and food bank vehicles, as well as providing people with PPE and refreshments and sign-posting visitors to the Red Cross mobility aids service, which is also housed on-site.
“The volunteers have been covering two shifts every Monday for the past three weeks, as well as supporting RE:ACT and FareShare South West at the base. This is a wonderful demonstration of our volunteers’ dedication and an example of the power of kindness in action.
“The partnership has demonstrated how – by bringing together the skills and resources of different organisations – we can mobilise much-needed support to efficiently combat widespread food poverty at a regional level.”