The region’s biggest food charity, FareShare South West, launches a festive campaign to tackle the winter food crisis.

14 million people are now living in poverty across the UK, and here in the south west one in four children face food insecurity. High food prices, heating bills and weeks without free school meals mean that for many families, the nightmare before Christmas is becoming a reality.

FareShare South West are on a mission to share food for 1 million meals this winter. The charity works with food suppliers to take surplus food that would otherwise be wasted and get it onto people’s plates, by distributing it to a network of over 400 frontline charities, schools and community hubs from Gloucester to Tintagel.

From midday 28th November to Tuesday 5th December, every donation made to the charity’s Big Give Christmas Challenge will be match funded – meaning it will be doubled. The charity hopes to raise £40,000 from donations, to reach a total of £80,000.

FareShare South West’s CEO Gene Joyner said: “Winter is the toughest time for the people we support: not only for families but people experiencing loneliness, anxiety

and deep deprivation, while surrounded by festive messages about comfort and plenty. We know that good food means so much more than a full belly. It brings people together, it brings security and hope. A donation made during the Big Give is doubled, so you can make the twice the impact. I think of it as inviting an extra family to Christmas dinner – but without the extra washing up.”

During the winter, FareShare South West runs an emergency warehouse in Bristol, where volunteers pack food parcels for families with store cupboard essentials, activity packs for children, and cooking supplies including a recipe book created by The Children’s Kitchen. The charity also supplies surplus food for Caring at Christmas, ensuring people experiencing homelessness enjoy a hot meal in company, alongside access to a range of other support.