OVER 12,000 people a week, across Hampshire and Dorset rely on the meals provided by the UK’s largest food charity to be able to feed themselves and their family, while 270,000 tonnes of good food is wasted every year.

FareShare Southern Central, based in Totton, Southampton, redistributes surplus food to more than 140 local charities and community groups that provide over 1.1 million nutritious meals a year, along with life changing support, to help people get back on their feet.

The food charity has now launched a new campaign “Feed People First”, which calls on the public to sign a petition that could help deliver an extra 100,000 tonnes of good surplus food to charities across the country.

Every year at least 270,000 tonnes of good food is wasted in UK food production simply because it is too expensive to redistribute good quality surplus food to charities supporting the 8.4 million people in the UK who go hungry.

FareShare Chief Executive Lindsay Boswell said: “It’s completely wrong that we have a situation where it’s cheaper to send thousands of tonnes of good edible food to anaerobic digestion plants or to animal feed, when there are millions of people experiencing food insecurity and regularly skipping meals across the UK right now.

“FareShare redistributes just 5% of the available surplus food, but with that we help feed half a million people a week - so just imagine what we could do with 100,000 tonnes. This is what France already does, and we know we can do it here too.

“We have the capacity, we know more charities want us to help them - we just need the Government to help us access the food.”

The charity is calling on the Government to offset the costs of charitable food redistribution which could include re-packing, harvesting, transporting, storage and handling, so that 100,000 tonnes of food could be used for people in need.

“Food waste is something that no one wants, especially when there is a simple solution, so we urge everyone to sign the petition and help feed people first,” Lindsay said.

Deadline for the petition is 3 May 2018 – sign here www.feedpeoplefirst.org