Following on from the Santa’s Red Helpers appeal at Christmas, which saw 80,000 meals donated to those in need, the Foundation and FareShare Greater Manchester have once again joined forces to support families through the Foundation’s partner school network.
Over the last eight weeks, 383,000 food items have been diverted by FareShare, for packing and distributed by Foundation and club staff to 40 schools across Greater Manchester.
As the operation culminates ahead of the Easter holidays, former Manchester United and England defender Wes Brown once again offered his support by attending Manchester Enterprise Academy (MEA) Central in South Manchester, to help deliver the food hampers and meet staff and students.
Wes, who previously supported the campaign at Christmas, said: “This school is just ten minutes from where I was born; I didn’t think twice about helping out as it’s so important to give these opportunities and making sure the right people get access to the meals.
“For Manchester United Foundation and FareShare to continue after Christmas is excellent. It just shows the commitment to supporting local families during what has been a stressful time for a lot of people, so if this is one thing off their mind it helps out enormously.”
Over the course of this initiative, FareShare GM has donated 150 tonnes of ambient food, which has had a huge impact on the recipients, including boosting the concentration and energy levels of pupils at school.
Emily Reynard, principal at MEA Central, said: “It’s been a really worrying and challenging year for everyone, so it has been really reassuring and helpful to have additional support from the Foundation in providing us with such high-quality food and getting that out to our families. Something as essential and basic as food and being well-fed and looked after is absolutely key for our pupils being able to learn.
“We’ve also got some huge United fans and excited children who helped out today. Especially for a United legend to visit who lives locally and who has experienced life growing up around this area, it meant something even more to them as somebody who identifies with the lives that they live, how they’re being brought up and where they are from.”
Miranda Kaunang, head of development for FareShare Greater Manchester, said: “At a time when the need for our service has never been higher, the response from the club and Manchester United Foundation to support those most vulnerable has been phenomenal. FareShare supplies hundreds of schools across the UK, and we understand from their feedback that the need is particularly acute among families in some communities. Here in Greater Manchester, we are proud to continue playing a part in the fight against hunger with the support of partners like Manchester United and the Foundation.”
FareShare Greater Manchester is part of FareShare, the UK’s biggest network of charitable food redistributors and a founding member of the Child Food Poverty Taskforce, set up to help end child hunger in the UK and spearheaded by Marcus Rashford. More than 600 businesses across the supply chain regularly divert their surplus food onto FareShare – including retailers, manufacturers and growers – for redistribution onto 11,000 local, frontline charities each year.
The campaign follows Manchester United Foundation and the club’s ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the previous collaboration with FareShare Greater Manchester to provide 80,000 meals at Christmas, and 5,000 free school meals during the October half-term break.