More than 713,000 meals have now been provided to charities and community groups across Sussex thanks to the Community Food Connection scheme.
The figure, which relates to Tesco’s surplus food redistribution, has been released to mark the roll-out of the scheme across all of its stores across the UK.
To date more than 20 million meals have been provided to charities and community groups taking part in the scheme, with food for 600,000 meals a week now being provided to good causes across the UK, saving them money which can be used to provide other services.
In East Sussex Tesco’s initiative has seen 300,144 meals donated and West Sussex has received 413,028 to local groups including homeless shelters, community centres, breakfast clubs, and groups providing food to vulnerable older people.
Tesco’s head of community Alec Brown said: “We know that Community Food Connection is making a real difference to communities in Sussex by providing people in need with meals from food that would otherwise go to waste.
“Now that all of our stores are taking part in Community Food Connection there are more opportunities than ever for groups to benefit from the free food provided under the scheme. I would invite any group that thinks they could benefit from the scheme to contact FareShare, as we have the capacity to help even more good causes.”
The Community Food Connection programme is run in conjunction with FareShare and FoodCloud. Good causes are able to link up with local Tesco stores, from small Express stores to big Tesco Extras, via an innovative app that allows store teams to alert them to surplus unsold food items available at the end of each day.
Not only does the scheme benefit the community groups involved, but it also prevents unsold food going to waste.
Tesco helped develop the nationwide scheme in partnership with food redistribution charity, FareShare using an app created by the small social enterprise FoodCloud.
Lindsay Boswell, chief Executive of FareShare, said the latest announcement was an 'incredible milestone'.
She added: “Tesco has led the way with introducing such a step-change in tackling their store surplus food and having seen the scheme grow and create such impact for vulnerable people, it proves that it can deliver very obvious results which can benefit other retailers and their local communities too.”
Tesco and FareShare are calling on charities and community groups across Sussex to register for the scheme, which sees food including fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables and bakery products, as well as chilled products like meat, cheese and ready meals, donated for free to groups that sign up.
If you are a charity or community group that could benefit from the support of Community Food Connection, click HERE to find out more.