FareShare welcomes German publication, Der Spiegel, to our Birmingham depot to learn about food insecurity in the UK
FareShare recently spoke to Jörg Schindler from Der Spiegel about our operations fighting hunger and waste in the UK, amidst the cost of living crisis, rising inflation and increasing poverty. In our Birmingham depot, Regional Operations Manager, Jo McReynolds, described her work for FareShare Midlands.
"It’s one of those days when Jo McReynolds doesn’t know what to do first. On the screen in front of her is a seemingly endless list of food items. Thirty trays of bread, two pallets of mixed vegetables, hundreds of cans of chicken tikka masala, 600 kilograms of Maris Piper potatoes, 52 packages of frozen buttermilk scones, 144 cartons of veggie meat, 200 crates of yogurt, 318 packets of Caesar dressing – and those are just the items that came in early that morning.
Ideally, most of it should be shipped today. McReynolds laughs. "I begin each day with a nervous breakdown, and things get worse from there," she says. On her desk in Hall 2 is a tabloid newspaper with Putin’s face on the cover, pain pills and a package of Yorkshire tea.
A blond, 62-year-old with a nasal piercing and wearing a reflective vest, Jo McReynolds is the manager of the FareShare outlet in Birmingham. To fight both food waste and hunger, FareShare collects food that is no longer completely fresh, but which has not yet expired, from supermarkets and producers, distributing it to schools, food banks and other facilities. When McReynolds started as a volunteer 10 years ago, FareShare had six small outlets in the UK, but it now runs 30 regional centers with 1,500 employees and around 5,000 volunteer assistants.
Feeding the needy has turned into big business.
In the Nechells district north of the Birmingham city center, McReynolds now oversees four brick warehouses filled to the roof with nonperishable food. Forklifts are in constant motion as they load up delivery vans, while countless, mostly good-natured workers are bustling about in their reflective vests marked with the words: "Food Hero."
The Nechells site processes six to eight tons of food every single day, with the daily nationwide total in December reaching 3,300 tons – a new record. And they still aren’t able to keep up with demand. The waiting list, says McReynolds, is longer than her forearm. "It is frightening. For Christ's sake, we can send people to the moon, but we aren’t able to feed our own people."
Hunger has been the focus of numerous recent stories coming out of the United Kingdom. Stories about a government that was planning on making cuts to the school dinners program before a football star intervened. About how even UNICEF stepped in to help feed children in a country with the sixth largest economy in the world. And about the skyrocketing popularity of Asian instant noodles, popular because they are filling and cheap, and because they take almost no time to cook – a huge advantage given that spiking energy prices have made electricity unaffordable for many Britons."
Excerpt taken from Britain in Crisis: The UK faces a steep climb out of a deep hole.
Read the full article: The UK faces a steep climb out of a deep hole