Community engagement and investment platform Neighbourly, in partnership with supermarket partners Aldi, Marks and Spencer’s, Lidl and Sainsbury’s redistributed over 2.6 million meals to communities in need over the festive period.
More than 1,000 tonnes of food surplus donations were delivered over the Christmas weeks to Neighbourly’s network of local causes and community organisations that collect surplus food. Neighbourly facilitates the back of store surplus food collection, so that food is directed to a range of local causes – including foodbanks, youth charities, community cafes and community fridges.
Results from Neighbourly’s community survey towards the end of 2021 demonstrated the stark need for food donations, with 31% of organisations surveyed saying that access to sufficient nutritious food was the biggest issue facing their local communities.
Lack of access to nutritious food has been worsened by the removal of the Universal Credit uplift and continued rising cost of living, which were both major issues facing families in the lead up to Christmas, according to Neighbourly’s network of small charities and local causes. A mid-December survey carried out by the Independent Food Aid Network found 90 per cent of food banks had already experienced an increase in the need for help in recent weeks.
Now, rising fuel costs now threaten to put even more people at risk of food insecurity – with some facing the terrible choice between turning on the heating or paying for food.
Steve Butterworth, CEO of Neighbourly, said: “Although food redistribution isn’t a long-term solution to food insecurity, food banks and other frontline community organisations are providing an essential lifeline for people in need of urgent support. Generosity from all kinds of businesses has been essential in enabling people and communities to survive – and we’re immensely grateful to our business partners for their close-knit working with local communities.”
“We need businesses, policymakers and individuals alike to step up their support for local causes. Ultimately, we need the number of meals delivered across the UK to drop – not increase – to really show that food poverty and inequality is being tackled.”
Neighbourly is a community investment and engagement platform that connects businesses with over 18,000 local charities and good causes across the UK and Ireland. It ensures delivery of volunteer time, money and surplus products is tailored and targeted to support people in difficult circumstances and help build strong communities.