FoodStock 2020, our emergency food distribution operation established in mid-November 2020, which had an initial target of distributing enough food for 1million meals in just three months will now aim to distribute enough food for 2.5million meals by the end of March 2021.
The FoodStock 2020 operation, which gets food to frontline charities and settings – including ready-to-go food parcels – has been described as a safety net for the city and region during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been operating from our temporary warehouse space by Ashton Gate Stadium. The operation was set to conclude in mid-February but has been extended to meet continued need across the city and wider region and will now conclude at the end of March.
Julian Mines, CEO of FareShare South West, says: “When we returned from Christmas, it was apparent that the optimism many of us had felt towards the end of 2020 was perhaps a little premature and that the impacts of this pandemic were set to continue well into 2021. The frontline charities, schools and settings who get this food are clearly telling us that need is continuing to soar in their communities. This is no surprise, particularly considering the most recent lockdown. We are fortunate to have had more food committed to us by DEFRA, meaning along with important local partnerships with food businesses, we can continue receiving and redistributing emergency food at scale right up until the end of March…
…What we know is that in times of lockdown many services struggle to continue offering food support in ways they perhaps can outside of those rules and therefore our food becomes a vital resource, and one we know has prevented many thousands in Bristol and beyond from falling through the cracks and into more complex issues relating to food poverty.
Being there for our city and wider region would not have been possible without the support we’ve received from local businesses, individual donations and of course our incredible volunteers who have stepped up to make this possible.”
Whilst we have almost reached our original £20,000 target for public donations to the FoodStock 2020 operation, we have decided to set ourselves the challenge of raising a further £10,000. With the project extended and with much of the infrastructure to redistribute this food being temporary and at cost to us, this extra money will be really important in helping us meet our mammoth food for 2.5million meals target by the end of March.
From April 2021, the plan is to revert to only operating our sustainable, long-term food support, which sees good quality surplus food reach over 300 frontline organisations weekly in the region year in and year out. However, we will be doing this at much higher levels than pre-COVID, so face the huge challenge of upscaling our core operations fast in the coming months once temporary resources are no longer available.
To donate to FoodStock 2020, click here.