Volunteers from the Sedgefield branch of Mears, which works in partnership with housing association, Livin, got together to help affordable food charity The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT), deliver surplus food collected from supermarkets and manufacturers as far as North Yorkshire and Humberside.
The charity aims to makes life more affordable for people and reduces food waste through its mobile food clubs which supply almost 30 low-income communities across County Durham, Hartlepool and Teesside.
The volunteers were a mixture of maintenance operatives and the office team who got involved preparing pallets of different foods from bread, cereals and tinned items to fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as chilled and frozen containers.
Once loaded on vans and dispatched to local communities, the remaining volunteers tidied the charity’s depot and awaited the next lorry of incoming food.
Each driver also carried a crate with a kettle, hot water dispenser, and tea and coffee supplies which were offered to anyone waiting at the food hubs when they arrived as part of TBBT’s Warm Hub initiative, helping to create warm, welcoming spaces for those who can’t afford to put the heating on at home.
Gemma Wilkinson, Customer Success Co-ordinator said:
“It was a very fast-paced environment to ensure that all vans were fully loaded and ready to head off to their food hubs on time throughout the morning. It was a massive eye opener for us all, but also a physical sense of achievement for being able to make a difference to those in need of food support. We’re looking forward to continuing our relationship with TBBT going forward.
Mark Game, CEO of The Bread and Butter Thing, added:
Our sincere thanks to all the Mears volunteers for their help in ensuring that our members can access healthy, nutritious food to enable them to feed their families well. This is more and more vital as the cost-of-living crisis continues.
As part of Mears' ongoing commitment to delivering social value in communities, The Mears Foundation, the independent charitable arm of Mears Group, has a nationwide partnership with food waste charity, FareShare, who work together alongside local, regional and national charities to help tackle food poverty for vulnerable people facing the cost-of-living crisis.
The foundation has already pledged thousands of pounds to the charity which will help shift and distribute an extra 229 tonnes of food which would have otherwise gone to waste. This in turn will mean that 545,000 additional meals will be going to people in need through community groups and charities.