A Salford based manufacturer helped save tonnes of fresh food..........

Firm volunteers and delivers food to the community and raises £4,371 for NHS hospital

A Salford based manufacturer helped save tonnes of fresh food from going to waste by delivering it to the elderly, vulnerable and keyworkers.

As the coronavirus pandemic escalated, Ryan Mohieddin, managing director of Forest Sofa and its group companiesForest sofa logo spoke with friend Andy Farnworth, managing director of Fresh Direct UK. Farnworth shared that as pubs and restaurants were closing across the nation, and with their regular charity partners unable to take any more donations, Fresh Direct UK were faced with the daunting prospect of wasting tonnes of food.

“The amount of potential food waste was sickening,” said Mohieddin. “At the time supermarkets were short of stock and elderly and vulnerable people were self-isolating. We simply couldn’t let this food go to waste.

“Coronavirus had closed our factories, halted deliveries and furloughed our staff, so Andy and I decided to work together and make the best of our situation. We delivered food to the people who needed it the most. Furloughed staff meant we had willing volunteers and paused deliveries freed up our vans.”

The team of volunteers led by Mohieddin and Farnworth boxed up tonnes of food and set out to deliver every last piece to a person in need. They started with a market stall before social dis-tancing was in place and sold boxes for £5 a box at The White Horse, Worsley – a Greene King pub and Fresh Direct UK customer. They raised £4,317, which was donated to Salford Royal Foundation Trust.

Over a two week period they delivered the rest of the food to Humphrey Booth Day Care Cen-tre, North West Fire Control, Community Mental Health teams (Ramsgate House, Presscott House and Cromwell House), Elmwood Church, Salford Primary Care Trust, Trafford Council Adult Social Care Workers, Meadway Health Centre and the local community.

But keeping up with the changing rules and regulations of coronavirus posed a challenge. To continue delivering food they needed more volunteers on hand. The team of furloughed staff reached out and asked locals to volunteer their time.

They were saved by St. Mary’s Church. The congregation helped to deliver more than 1,000 boxes to the elderly and vulnerable. Boxes were dropped at people’s doorsteps to keep the pro-cess in line with social distancing.

Karen Owen, the vicar at St. Mary’s Church, described the food delivery movement as “trigger-ing a wave of kindness”.
“We have been bowled over by the staggering generosity. The team operated non-stop in stress-ful conditions,” she said “I couldn’t keep up with the responses we were getting from people, it’s like a wave of kindness was triggered.

“People were sharing with neighbours and I honestly think they were appreciating their food. What Forest Sofa and Fresh Direct UK have done will impact our community for a very long time and the stories will continue.

“They have given so selflessly and people will be sleeping more peacefully because of them I do not exaggerate. The well being of those who received gifts as well as those who delivered has been tangible.”

The local community took to Facebook to share their thanks for the food boxes.

One user commented: “I was incredibly grateful and overwhelmed today when a box of fresh fruit and veg was dropped at my door. We have shared this with grandparents that cant get out but the kindness of this really warmed my heart. Thank you so much for doing what you do. In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

Another added: “Passed our box of fruit and veg to grandparents in self isolation …it was very much appreciated…there were tears!”

Inspired by the kindness of others, generous locals asked where they could donate to the cause themselves.

Between the volunteers, St Mary’s Church, Farnworth and Mohieddin, it was decided that dona-tions would be sent to Mustard Tree. An incredible, local charity, who during the coronavirus out-break are staying open as key workers. During this unprecedented time Mustard Tree is commit-ted to providing an emergency food offer, supported by volunteers. It is focusing on food clubs, toiletries, clothes, food supply and distribution including managing donations from the public.

Mohieddin said: “We never anticipated the difference these food parcels would make to our community. The reactions and feedback received has been incredibly warming. By the end we were all pretty tired, it was a full time job and much harder work than we could’ve imagined but It was worth it and it left us all feeling very fulfilled.

“When we delivered the final boxes to Meadway health centre we walked in to what felt like an undeserved standing ovation from the true heroes – our keyworkers. Whist it was a touching moment to see their appreciation, the real applause goes to all of our keyworkers for their dedi-cation and hard work.”

You can read more about the food delivery service and donate to the cause at - https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/

They have already raised £3 68.75 of a £1,000 target.