Brighton & Hove Food Festival patron Sharon Honey recently joined the steering committee of FareShare Sussex, one of the festival’s two chosen charities. Each week Sharon volunteers a day to help distribute surplus food from the FareShare warehouse to over 100 charitable groups across the county. We asked her to tell us what that entails…
8.30am The warehouse shutters open. Our volunteers arrive, ready for action! We come from a broad cross-section of the local area. What binds us together is a shared passion to make a difference, and enrich the community where we live. Fareshare Sussex is a charity set up to tackle hunger and reduce waste. We take in good quality surplus food from food businesses and deliver it across Sussex to over 90 community groups and charities where it is turned into nutritious meals for vulnerable people.
9.00am We gather around Sophie, our Warehouse Supervisor, who works through the orders for the groups we supply, calling out the items required. We pack them into trays and load them on to one of our three vans, resplendent with the Fareshare logo. Have you spotted one on your travels?
9.45am The first van is loaded and off to our charity groups across the county. Thursday is the busiest day of the week at FareShare. We also send out two vanloads around Brighton; and another to Hastings, via Eastbourne and we collect from several food providers. What goes out has to come back in, if we are to remain sustainable.
10.15am It’s my turn on the van with
Richard at the wheel. We call at several local projects supporting vulnerable people, including a children’s centre, a specialist centre for people with HIV/AIDS-related illnesses and a family community project. We deliver the food; listen to feedback; remove empty trays before leaping back in the van to do battle with the Brighton traffic. No need for the gym today!
11.15am We’re back at the warehouse for a quick turn-around and in record time, Richard is off again for the second Brighton round, this time taking Tony with him. All the vans are out now, and it’s time to make the place spick and span.
12.30pm A huge delivery arrives to be processed. Hurrah! We check every item is in date; sort it into groups; count it and store it appropriately. It’s a joy to see the fridges and shelves refilled!
2.30pm As a member of the Steering Group Committee, I also work closely with the FareShare Team to develop fundraising strategies. We take the opportunity to meet in the office to catch-up, develop ideas and move projects forward.
3.30pm The next shift of volunteers arrive and I set off for home, exhausted, but with a warm glow in my heart. Today was a good day.
You can support FareShare Sussex during the food festival by joining us at our India vs Mexico supper at Hotel du Vin on Monday 22 May, or at the FareShare Soup Kitchen as part of our Sussex & The World Weekender on Hove Lawns from Saturday 27 – bank holiday Monday 29 May. Also keep an eye out for the festival’s ‘Hello’ beer produced in conjunction with Two Tribes Brewing and available from many of our bar and restaurant partners throughout May and June – a percentage of profits from the beer will be donated to FareShare to support their valuable work fighting hunger and reducing food waste.
Visit www.faresharesussex.org.uk for more information.