The numbers of nurseries signing up to food share schemes is on the rise.
The schemes see free surplus food shared with children and families as part of a bid to fight both hunger and food waste.
Popular food scheme
The FareShare FoodCloud Scheme is becoming increasingly popular across the board, with nurseries in particular taking an interest in it. There are now 200 nurseries signed up to it, and they say that they are saving around £500 a year.
The scheme allows charities and community groups to take advantage of surplus quality food from Tesco and Waitrose for free. This means that produce which would otherwise be thrown away is instead given to those in need. If you have a food job with a community organisation yourself, you may be able to get involved and share the food with those who use your service.
The organisation also includes a paid scheme in which groups can receive regular orders of food coming from 20 regional centres across the UK. The management team say that this membership scheme can save charities £7,900 each year.
Nurseries are able to provide children with free lunches during the day, and can even give the leftover food to parents so that they have something extra to take home. This service is hugely appreciated by struggling parents, who might otherwise have difficulty paying for their children’s meals.
“The way FareShare FoodCloud works is very simple. We match charities and community groups up to a local supermarket and arrange a regular day for them to collect surplus food from the store to supplement their existing food supplies. On their collection day, the charity will get a text from the supermarket, saying what food is available. The food is all good quality, in date and perfectly safe to eat, and we make sure that the charity never feels pressured into taking more food than they need,” says Lindsay Boswell, the chief executive of FareShare. “So far the scheme has been a huge success, with almost 5,000 charities across the UK signed up. Our charities are telling us that they save around £500 a year, with many of them picking up food more than once a week. This can amount to a significant cost saving, particularly for smaller charities where margins are tight.”
Nurseries in trouble
Nurseries and pre-schools are struggling more and more to operate with growing funds. They are also seeing falling funding rates, which makes it difficult for them to stay open.
Ironically, having the nurseries open means more people can go back to work rather than staying at home to care for their young children, which means more money going back into the economy. People in executive food jobs can make the decisions that give struggling families the chance to feed their children.
“It’s great as it boosts the variety of food we serve to the children, helps with costs and is good for the environment,” says Vanessa Burns from the YMCA Maidstone Tovil Pre-School. “Today we received three boxes, which included… a variety of loaves of bread, bananas, plums and cherries – which we never normally buy as they are expensive. For some of the children, it was the first time they had tried cherries. Tomorrow we are going to bake banana bread using the leftover bananas. Whatever we don’t use we put on display for families and the community to take home. We are in a low-income council area, with lots of deprived families, many of whom have English as an additional language.”
It’s clear that this service is much-needed for low-income communities.