A CHURCH has managed to feed the 5,000 within six months of setting up a scheme to stop supermarket waste from ending up as landfill.

Willington Open Door Methodist Church works with the community and runs a variety of projects.

Volunteers from the church started the Fareshare service in July 2019 – collecting food which has past its sell-by date from supermarkets and redistributing it to residents.

Jo Loring, who helps run the Willington Fareshare scheme, said: “The feeling is fantastic, Jesus fed the 5,000 and so have we.

“Its turning into a little community of people who swap ideas like recipes then people tell their friends and family about us.”

One user of the scheme, Becky Ray-Allen said: “Our freezer shop has just closed in Willington and we have not got the money to afford the prices in the Co-op or pay £5 to get a bus to Crook.

"Here the food is different each week and there is a good variety, the people who volunteer he do not get enough credit for what they do.”

Another user, Lesley Johnson said: “It’s really big help with universal credit, I have four kids and food is not cheap, my kids are eating me out of house and home, I work in a care home but still need the support. It’s free, it’s friendly and there is no judgement.”

The group has become a community in itself and provides support to one another, even helping one person secure a grant to buy a new cooker so they could cook the food collected from Fareshare.

Sue Hine, coordinator at Fareshare and the Foodbank, said: “I love Fareshare because it’s open to everybody and I think that’s wonderful, people who work are struggling and this stops food going to waste.

Foodbanks are great for crisis situations but Fareshare is about sharing ideas and being a community.”

The service started off with a few people turning up but now it sees at least 30 per session which run on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Each person can choose one item for free and once everyone has been served, they can go round again to get what is left.

The Fareshare charity is a free service to help people who may struggle to afford food or suffer with social isolation and help tackle waste at the same time. The group promotes community and environmentalism. Fareshare is the UK’s largest food redistribution charity, it takes food from the food industry that can’t be sold in shops due to packaging errors or short shelf-life and stops it going to waste in landfill.

Last year the charity helped save 20,838 tonnes of food from waste and managed to prepare 46.4 million meals.

The Methodist Church also hosts a number of events throughout the week that have also started to attract more people due to the popularity of the Fareshare event. Everything from the exercise clubs and worships. If anyone is interested in coming to a Fareshare it is free and open to everyone, and runs 3.30pm to 4pm.