Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford supermarkets' waste food handed out for free

Bread Image copyright ReUse Centre
Image caption Bread is one of the most commonly donated items and the charity has started freezing it sliced

A large number of perishable foods that would otherwise go in the bin are being handed out for free by a social enterprise charity.

FeedBedford has been started by The ReUse Centre (TRC) in the town, with items donated from local supermarkets.

The charity said the food - mostly breads, pastries, fruit and vegetables - had reached its "best by" or "sell by" date, but was "safe to eat".

Its success has led it to explore operating from a second town site.

It all started when it stored food for another charity called "Dine With Us On The Streets (DOTS)", said Mark Thompson from TRC.

DOTS feeds homeless people or anyone who needs a meal in the town on a Saturday night.

"We let them use our spare storage space and gradually they were donated more and more food," said Mr Thompson.

Image copyright ReUse Centre
Image caption The charity hopes to get a commercial fridge and freezer to store more items

"When we realised we were struggling to give the food away, and more supermarkets got on board, 'FeedBedford' was launched."

TRC also sells furniture and household items.

One customer, Caroline, said: "This is lovely, I regularly come in to see the furniture here, I'm leaving with enough carrots to make a lovely soup."

Mr Thompson said: "Since it started on Monday it has been going really well.

"The most common vegetables at the moment are parsnips and carrots, but sometimes we get rather unusual items that we have to look up on the internet."

It hopes to buy a commercial fridge and freezer and expand the scheme to a second site in the town centre.

Image copyright ReUse Centre
Image caption The food is handed out from the ReUse Centre on Gadsby Street in Bedford

Anyone on benefits, who receives tax credits or has a Blue Light Card for the emergency services, NHS or armed forces, can collect the items from the Gadsby Street shop.

The items have been donated by Morrisons, Sainbury's and Tesco supermarkets.

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