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'Heartwarming' Christmas meal at busy community cafe thanks to FareShare link

December 20, 2018 05:04 PM

Here's Michelle Castledine from our Gosforth store helping serve meals at a busy community cafe's Christmas party – made possible by the huge range of food deliveries they regularly receive from FareShare.

Vinnie's Cafe in Newcastle has been helping homeless and vulnerable people for the last year. They linked up with FareShare three months ago, and now receive regular deliveries of good quality food, including additional fresh produce.

Our Asda Fight Hunger Create Change campaign, which is donating £20 million over the next three years to food charities FareShare and The Trussell Trust, has enabled FareShare to move to a larger site in Newcastle, giving them more space and enabling them to receive more chilled food.

Supplies from FareShare's depot are sent to dozens of charities, foodbanks and good causes in the region, like this one.

Emma Bell, fundraiser and volunteer coordinator at Vinnie's Cafe, said: "Having FareShare on board for the last three months has had a massive difference to us, and it's wonderful that Asda are supporting them. It all helps us give people who are in need of a good meal a home-cooked dinner full of meat and vegetables with table service too. We've achieved our goal of giving our service users a full dining experience which many of them don't get.

"We have around 45 volunteers – some of whom are service users as well.

"We get a huge selection of food now, particularly a lot of meat, vegetables and fruit which we didn't pick up before.

"Before that, myself and the volunteers were collecting donations ourselves on evenings, but the cafe became so busy this became very full-on, so we decided to become a member of FareShare.

"It's a drop-in cafe and we feed around 180 people a week. It's open to anyone; we get people who are homeless, in hostels – one of which is attached to our building – and people who are isolated or struggling financially.

"The Christmas meal was so busy! It was a mad day but it was fantastic. Everyone had a great time and Michelle was a great help too. She's going to contact us in the new year to see how she can help us again."

Our Gosforth store's community champion Michelle joined the volunteers to serve a three-course Christmas lunch to around 90 people, who also all received a festive gift. Children from St Mary's Primary School in Whickham also sang carols.

Michelle said: "It was a lovely afternoon; so heartwarming to be part of it. To be honest I had tears in my eyes on the way home."

Jake Hanmore, development manager for FareShare in the North East, said: "Asda’s generous funding enabled FareShare North East earlier this year to relocate to new, larger premises and purchase new equipment such as bigger chillers.

“The relocation and new equipment has been vital in growing our impact and capacity, which enabled us to recruit charities such as Vinnie’s Café – just one of the 30 frontline groups we are registering as members over the next year.

"To hear the difference food is making for the café and local community is really heartwarming, and a poignant reminder of the value of our service.”