FareShare GM has so far donated 33 tonnes of food to the Santa’s Red Helpers campaign, which will be turned into 80,000 meals by club chefs, to be delivered to children and families from Foundation partner schools, food banks and other external charities this Christmas.
Manchester United ambassador Denis Irwin visited FareShare GM – which is operated by EMERGE - to meet the staff and find out more about the vast operation and the impact the donations will have on its recipients. During the visit Denis toured the depot, meeting operational staff and delivery drivers, including those en route to deliver food to Old Trafford for the Santa’s Red Helpers appeal.
Denis said: “It’s an inspirational and incredible operation, one that is managed so well by FareShare GM – full credit to them. The amount of families and children in need, people who need the most basic things, like food – it’s an eye opener.
“Manchester United is a huge football club, but we are committed to working in the community and the Foundation does a tremendous job. It’s a great effort on behalf of Manchester United and FareShare GM that we’ve partnered up so we can deliver these 80,000 parcels to partner schools and charities around Christmas. It can be a tough time for many people and unfortunately it’s only going to get tougher for some.”
Once received at the stadium, the food will be prepared, packaged and distributed by Manchester United chefs and staff, to ensure the 80,000 meals are delivered to those in need of support before Christmas.
Collette Roche, chief operating officer for Manchester United, said: “2020 has been a really challenging year for so many across the country. The issue of food poverty has been significant, worsened by the Covid-19 crisis and aggravated further during the holidays when many children cannot get access to free school meals.
“Many have rallied to this particular cause and we are proud to be able to play our part. We’ve scaled up our partnership with the Foundation and with FareShare GM, bringing our resources together, to produce 80,000 meals over the festive period. We thank all the fans and staff who have contributed to this important project.”
Miranda Kaunang, head of development for FareShare GM, said: “We feel that this is what we’ve got to do; this is our mission. We’ve been working here for over ten years on food poverty issues, but this year in particular we are very proud to step up to the challenge of lockdown and everything that has happened since.
“It’s really important that we’re working with the Foundation because of the relationships they have with local schools. When the meals reach the families and the boxes are opened with all the extra goodies those families and those kids will feel like somebody out there really cares about them and wants them to have a great Christmas despite everything that has happened this year.”
Denis’s visit came as the food charity enters its busiest week of the year, preparing to provide 70 tonnes of food to more than 250 frontline charities and community groups including community centres, food banks and homeless shelters.
FareShare is the UK’s biggest food charity and is 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 500 businesses across the supply chain regularly divert their surplus food onto FareShare – including retailers, independent stores and local organisations.
Food wholesaler BidFood has also provided use of four articulated freezer lorries to store prepared meals at Old Trafford and will also facilitate deliveries to Manchester United Foundation partner schools, foodbanks and local charities.
Along with financial support from Manchester United players and staff, including a £250,000 commitment from the players, the Santa’s Red Helpers appeal encourages fans to donate where possible to provide Christmas presents and food parcels for those who may otherwise go without. Club and Foundation staff are also helping to fund, pack and deliver items for those in need. The campaign follows Manchester United Foundation and the club’s ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the previous collaboration with FareShare GM to provide 5,000 free school meals during the October half-term break.
Click here to find out more about the campaign and how you can make a difference to those in need this Christmas by becoming one of Santa’s Red Helpers.