The food waste charity FareShare Sussex and Surrey has started an urgent appeal as it gears up for its busiest winter yet, with demand expected to reach record levels this year.
The charity, which fights hunger and food waste, said that demand had risen sharply at a time when unlocking surplus food has become more challenging, against a backdrop of the “cost of living crisis”.
FareShare said that it needed an increase of more than 40 per cent of surplus food to meet the demand from its current waiting list.
At present, FareShare Sussex and Surrey receives about 70 tonnes of food a month. The charity is calling on residents and businesses across the region for support and donations to help meet the shortfall and prevent hunger in deprived communities this winter.
The charity aims to raise £30,000 in just seven days through its Big Give Christmas Challenge appeal, which could help provide more than 120,000 meals for those in need.
From Tuesday 28 November until Tuesday 5 December, all cash donations made through the Big Give online portal will be doubled.
Supporters can also help by giving food through the charity’s Tesco food drive or by giving their time to volunteer.
From Thursday 30 November to Saturday 2 December, large Tesco stores in Hove, Portslade and Shoreham will be collecting contributions. Volunteers are needed to work in those shops to help gather the food.
FareShare said: “By giving just a few hours of time, supporters can help the charity collect food to top up existing supplies. Fareshare Sussex and Surrey aims to gather 15 tonnes of food over the three-day period.”
Dan Slatter, the chief executive of FareShare Sussex and Surrey, said: “This winter we are urging communities to come together to help us provide food for those who need it most across Sussex and Surrey.
“Sadly we’re expecting demand to reach record levels at a time when we have seen a reduction in surplus food levels amid the high cost of living.
“Loneliness at Christmas can be especially painful. We’re working with charities and community groups who provide communal meals for those who could otherwise be alone.
“Giving food at your local Tesco store, volunteering to help us collect those food donations or donating to our Big Give Christmas Challenge are the three ways people can help.
“Last year we raised more than £14,000 through the Big Give and more than 15 tonnes of food through the Tesco food drive – and this year we’re determined to double this figure.
“Please dig deep to give what you can to help us fight hunger in our communities this winter.”
FareShare rescues and redistributes surplus food to more than 150 organisations across Sussex and Surrey, helping to combat hunger, prevent waste and reduce carbon emissions at the same time.
The charity helps those who live in areas with the highest levels of deprivation, working with groups that provide healthy meals and support such as advice, guidance, health support, counselling and befriending to help break the cycle of poverty.
For more information on the Tesco food drive or to sign up to volunteer, please visit www.faresharesussexandsurrey.org.uk/christmas.