11 Oct 2013

Red Cross to feed hungry Brits for first time since WWII

The British Red Cross is teaming up with a food bank charity to help feed thousands of vulnerable people across the UK who are struggling to cope in the harsh economic climate.

Red Cross steps in to help the hungry in austerity Britain (Getty)

The British Red Cross has set up a partnership with food charity FareShare next month to collect food donations to help hungry people across the country.

It is the first time the charity has stepped in with nationwide food aid in Britain since world war two, although it did provide food to flooding victims in Cumbria in 2009.

The scheme will work by installing Red Cross volunteers at Tesco stores across the UK, who will collect food donations and encourage shoppers to buy extra items to give to FareShare.

We are worried that vulnerable people such as the elderly and young children may not have enough nutritious food. Simon Lewis, Red Cross

FareShare will then redistribute the donations, as well as surplus perishable food from supermarkets and producers, to charities, which will then serve it up to lunch clubs for older people, women’s refuges and food banks.

‘Much-needed support’

Simon Lewis, Red Cross head of emergency planning and response, said: “Many people are struggling to cope in the current economic climate. As a humanitarian organisation, we are worried that vulnerable people such as the elderly and young children may not have enough nutritious food.

“Unbelievably, 3 million tonnes of food are wasted in the UK every year while thousands go hungry. We’re delighted to help FareShare give much-needed support to people in crisis.”

The collections, which will take place on 29 and 30 November and 1 December, are set to help feed about 130,000 people across the UK. The charity estimates 5.8 million people in Britain are struggling to afford everyday essentials like food.

Nearly 500,000 people in the UK needed support from foodbanks last year, according to figures from the Trussel Trust.

But Britain is not the only country where people are struggling to put food on the table in the current economic climate. A new report by the International Federation of the Red Cross recorded a 75 per cent increase in the number of people in Europe relying on food aid over the last three years. It suggests 43 million people across Europe do not have enough to eat on a daily basis.