University of Sussex student, and Food Partnership intern, Jessy reflects on her experience of spending the day volunteering with FareShare Sussex.
I recently went to visit FareShare Sussex and spend a morning with them. As an intern working at Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, I have been learning about the work of the Surplus Food Network, a group of organisations including FareShare, who are tackling food waste in the city. I have been organising a social media campaign based on statistics of their successes in the last year, and so I know what a huge impact FareShare has on feeding vulnerable people. However, I still wanted to see this work in action and see what it is really like to be a part of it.
The morning began with the loading of vans by collecting food from the massive fridges and storage rooms. Each project that FareShare deliver to have their own list of items and receive different food depending on their needs. I then set out with Sarah and Sue, some of FareShare’s lovely volunteer drivers, to deliver to various locations around Sussex. On our list was foodbanks and homeless shelters in Brighton and in Crawley.
After we dropped off the food, we went to pick up surplus food from Ocado. We weren’t expecting much, as the week before there had only been a couple of crates. This time we almost filled up the whole van, full of people’s online orders which couldn’t be delivered. Although this was obviously good news, as more food means more people being fed, it did highlight the unpredictable nature of collecting surplus, and just how much food would have been wasted if FareShare were not there to collect it. On our journey Sarah and Sue explained how there is a massive waiting list from projects that need food deliveries from FareShare to help alleviate the costs of feeding vulnerable people. Despite recent expansion, including a massive fridge, FareShare cannot keep up with this demand, and desperately need more businesses to donate surplus food.
Find out more about how you can donate food to local projects in the Surplus Food Network including FareShare Sussex.
During my visit, I was struck by the dedication and hard work of the volunteers. There was heavy lifting to be done, lots of sorting food and long drives. However, everyone I met had a smile on their face and laughter could be heard throughout the warehouse all morning. Everyone who works or volunteers there shares a passion for fighting hunger and food waste and this was really inspiring to see. I recommend anyone who has spare time to consider volunteering, fundraising or collecting for a truly excellent cause.
Find out more about all the ways you can get involved and support the work of FareShare Sussex.