John Lewis, Waitrose team with FareShare to offer Christmas dinners to those in need

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Photo courtesy of Waitrose

More than 1,000 people across the country have been invited to enjoy a festive feast hosted by Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners, as part of the retailers’ campaign to bring people together this Christmas. Food redistribution charity FareShare has nominated more than 50 charities to take part, ranging from homeless hostels to lunch groups for the elderly.

Over the next two weeks, the charities, the people they support and volunteers will come together to enjoy a Christmas dinner served by partners from John Lewis and Waitrose. Some well-known faces will be giving a helping hand, too, including sports personality Clare Balding and cricket star Jonathan Agnew.

The dinners will either be hosted in private dining rooms in John Lewis shops, or in the local charities’ dining spaces.

“We know that 46 per cent of people receiving food from FareShare supported groups have gone without a proper meal in the last month, so we are thrilled to be working with both John Lewis and Waitrose to provide these Festive Feasts and help more people feel part of the community,” Alyson Walsh, FareShare Commercial Director, said.

“These Festive Feasts are a wonderful way to support the work happening in the communities in which they operate, and this specific campaign builds on the year-long work their shops do to work with local charities and meet local needs.”

In addition to the feasts, John Lewis and Waitrose are giving FareShare a £150,000 donation, which is equivalent to providing 600,000 meals. Partners from both retailers have also pledged to volunteer at FareShare Regional Centres during the Christmas period.

"For many, Christmas is a time to get together with loved ones to celebrate," Caroline Silke, Partner and Social Impact Manager for Waitrose & Partners, said. "Yet for some, this can be the most difficult time of the year. Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the festive season, which is why we will be hosting these lunches to spread some Christmas cheer to those who deserve it most.”

Waitrose shops will also continue to donate surplus food to charities at the end of each day through FareShare’s redistribution app, which links the shop to local groups in need. The supermarket has donated the equivalent of 1.5 million meals to those in need since 2017 and a further 10,000 meals are expected to be donated this December alone.

“We approached FareShare because we want to support the vital work that charities do in the communities where we have shops," Stephen Cawley, Partner and Head of Corporate Responsibility at John Lewis & Partners, said. "Our Partners across the UK are really enthusiastic about being involved. We want to create special events which bring people together around the table to enjoy a memorable, festive feast, which they might not otherwise have.”

This year, the John Lewis Foundation has been funding FareShare's warehouse and forklift truck training programme in Leeds which is designed to help beneficiaries find employment.

In addition, FareShare is one of three national causes which will receive a share of £25,000 through the Community Matters ‘green token’ scheme on Waitrose.com over Christmas. Customers will be given a virtual green token to vote for the cause they’d most like to support, with the donation then shared according to the proportion of the vote they receive.

Community Matters scheme
The John Lewis Partnership also supports the communities in which it trades through its Community Matters ‘green token’ scheme.

At Waitrose & Partners, every shop shares up to £1,000 between three local charities every month, and on Waitrose.com, £25,000 is shared between three national causes every quarter. At John Lewis & Partners, every shop shares up to £3,000 between three community groups every quarter.

At the checkout, customers are given a green token to vote for the cause they’d most like to support. The donation is shared between the charities according to the proportion of the vote they’ve received. Since the ‘green token’ scheme began, over £30 million has been raised.

About FareShare

FareShare is the UK’s largest food redistribution charity, with 21 regional centres across the country. It takes food from the food industry that can’t be sold in shops, either because of packaging errors, a short shelf life or overproduction. That food, which is the same as the food eaten at homes, is then redistributed through a network of 11,000 frontline organisations, across the UK, such as homeless hostels, school breakfast clubs, domestic violence refuges, older people’s lunch clubs, food banks and hospices. FareShare provides enough food to create almost a million meals for vulnerable people every week.

FareShare Key Statistics (2018/19)

  • Last year, FareShare saved 20,838 tonnes of food from waste.
  • FareShare provided enough food for 46.5 million meals (that’s 893,737 meals for vulnerable people every week).
  • FareShare supported 10,942 charities and community groupsThe food Fareshare supplied enabled the charity sector to make £33.7 million in savings.
  • FareShare have 22 regional centres across the country, and deliver food to over 1,900 towns and cities.
  • Fareshare get food from 500 food companies right across the food supply chain.
  • FareShare saved 74,171,500 kg of carbon.
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