Food For Thought

At this time of year, it’s not as easy as it is in the summer months to turn a blind eye to the homeless with miserable cold and wet conditions, and Christmas edging closer, it is heart breaking to see people living on the streets. There are many ways we all can do our bit to help, but it can often feel like a drop of rain in the sea. That’s why, it’s so essential for brands and businesses’ alike to make their impact too…and perhaps create a whole wave instead!

A seven-million tonne mountain of food is thrown out by households every year. In the events industry, we throw away large amounts of food and other perishable items, which are in a good enough condition not to be thrown away at all. At drp we work with various schemes and charity which give back. What if we all thought about this waste as a donation instead of a loss to our budget? It’s not a loss when somebody else who really needs it has gained from it.

Here are some businesses and campaigns that we could take learnings from.

FareShare & Coca-Cola

8.4 million people in the UK, the equivalent of the entire population of London, are struggling to afford to eat*. Did you know at least 270,000 tonnes of surplus food from the UK food and drink industry could be redistributed to feed people each year? ** This is enough for 650 million meals.

FareShare save good food destined for waste and send it to charities who create nutritious meals for vulnerable people. The food they redistribute is fresh, quality and in date, excess from the food industry. The charities they work with can be found across the UK. drp uses FareShare whenever we have leftover food at our events.

Coca-Cola has launched a Christmas campaign that will raise awareness of FareShare’s work with millions of people across the UK, while raising vital funds to help feed people in need. From today until 31 December, FareShare’s logo will feature on 30 million promotional 500ml bottles of the Coca-Cola ranges stocked by major high street retailers and convenience stores over the festive period.

* Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Voices of the Hungry, 2016

** WRAP, Quantification of food surplus, waste and related materials in the grocery supply chain, 2016



From October 25 to 30, for every coat purchased at Macy’s stores and, one brand new coat will be donated for those in need. Macy’s will be donating the coats to charity Clothes4Souls for every coat purchased in the men’s, women’s, juniors’ and children’s departments.

Macy’s is an American household name and delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at 734 locations in 45 states as well as more than 100 international destinations via its online store Clothes4Souls, a division of Soles4Souls, is a not-for-profit global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of clothing. The charity works with non-profit partners including homeless shelters, after school programs, international relief, and disaster relief organizations to provide clothes to those who need them most, domestically and globally.

Since the program’s start in 2013, Macy’s has donated 130,000 new coats, with a retail value of more than $5.2 million.


Pret Apprentices

Coffee shop giant Pret A Manger has released an alternative Christmas marketing campaign this year. Contrasting the capitalist approaches of other high profile brands, their campaign is focused on highlighting its apprenticeship scheme for the homeless.

The ‘Opening Doors’ film follows three apprentices from training to being offered employment having done the scheme, which has a sole aim of helping to break the cycle of homelessness. The campaign is supported by customer contributions made throughout the year, including 10p from every soup sold and 50p from each of its Christmas sandwiches.

The company’s CEO Clive Schlee said that with the help from the public they are hoping to raise just over £1.7m for the relief of homelessness this year.

pretWatch the video here.

You don’t have to be a big brand to make a change, though….

Street Link

StreetLink was launched earlier this year and aims to offer the public a means to act when they see someone sleeping rough. It is the first step someone can take to ensure rough sleepers are connected to the local services and support available to them. Evidence suggests that some individuals sleeping rough may not be known to local services; while not all rough sleepers are aware that advice and services are available to them. Contacting Street Link, via their phone, website or mobile app, is the easiest and quickest way to alert the local authorities about someone who is homeless so that they can provide them with the help that they need.



Cheltenham Chippy

Brewery Fryer, a fish and chip shop in Cheltenham, has been giving its leftover portions to the homeless. Chris Kleanthous, the owner of the chippy, has decided that instead of throwing leftover fish and chips away, he will make sure that the homeless have a hot meal. The chip shop has only been open for about 14 months, and Chris has been giving his food away for nine of these. Chris said he thinks that too many food venues and restaurants throw their leftover food away and should be following in his footsteps, by donating leftovers that they would normally throw away at closing time. What a great guy! Read more here.


Every little helps makes a big difference. Over the festive season, if you can spare one morning a week to volunteer at a homeless shelter and help to feed the homeless, it really will make an impact and you’ll feel good making someone else feel good too!

Hannah Clark

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