The depot in Ashford is twice the size of FareShare’s previous base in Kent and now supplies quality surplus food to 140 community groups and projects, including homeless hostels, school breakfast clubs, rehabilitation centres and elderly lunch clubs. The new warehouse has given FareShare Kent the capacity to recruit 56 new local charities, with plans to recruit more over the next year.
One of the schemes supported from the new warehouse is Street Angels, a soup kitchen providing hot meals, food parcels and essential supplies to around 500 people per week in Gillingham.
The charity was set up by Neil Charlick, on the left in the picture above, who said: “It’s great to see the new centre is up and running. It’s going to make a big difference, both practically when we call in, and in terms of the number of people who’ll be helped.
“This centre means we can help a lot of people, which is great, though it’s sad that there are so many people who need our help."
Reseach by action group End Child Poverty shows there are 93,000 children in Kent living in poverty and Neil said: "From what I see there are lots of people who are just about getting by – they don’t come in on pay day, but by the end of the month when they’re struggling they ring up and ask if there’s any chance of getting a food parcel.
"I’m a trained chef and thanks to FareShare I can cook good food, providing a good nourishing meal. I find a lot more families with children are willing to ask for help, and we’ll supply them with things like nappies and baby milk too. This has become my life and the people I’m helping feed are my friends.”
The new warehouse has been paid for by the Asda Fight Hunger Create Change programme – our partnership with FareShare and the Trussell Trust which aims to help one million people with the food and support they need to help them out of the situation they are in. Over the course of three years, we're investing over £20 million to enable both charities to invest in infrastructure and offer more fresh food and crucial support and advice to people in need.
It was officially opened by Mayor of Ashford Jessamy Blanford and Kent High Sheriff Jane Ashton.
Ian Townsend-Blazier, Development Manager at FareShare Kent, said: “FareShare Kent already saves six tonnes of food from waste each week, which in turn provides over 14,000 meals to people in need – an astonishing figure which shows our commitment to fighting hunger and food waste.
“Each week we help to feed thousands at risk of hunger in our communities, but we know demand for our support is rising - which is why we welcome Asda’s generous investment.
“We’re grateful we are in a position to help more people, and if you would like to get involved either by donating, providing food or registering as a charity member, we encourage you to get in touch.”
Tim Scott, Senior Manager, Community and Campaigns at Asda, said: “By bringing FareShare and the Trussell Trust together and investing in their infrastructure and essential services, we can help thousands more vulnerable people in Kent and nationwide to access good quality fresh food.
“Ultimately, our aim is to change the face of poverty in the UK by providing much needed food to those in need and tackling the root causes of poverty, ensuring nobody goes hungry.”