Fare Share - The CRUMBS Project

The CRUMBS Project is a charity helping people with disabilities get back to work through training in cooking, administration or housekeeping services. We help people with learning disabilities, mental health problems, stabilised addictions and head injuries – a wide range of disabilities.

We cook and serve lunches and meals. We also have outreach services doing main meals for residents of self-contained flats, as well as supporting local lunch clubs.

Why did you decide to use Fare Share?

It seemed a good charity to work alongside, especially the products like fresh fruit and vegetables and the meat and cheese. Because our trainees are vulnerable adults they can’t always buy their own food, so in addition to using the food for training purposes, it is good to have that extra food for them to take away.

What were your expectations before Fare Share began?

Before it began, we were expecting boring foods: tins and cereals and so on. We really weren’t sure what the food would be like.

What is the Food like? Is it different to your food previously?

Lovely, really lovely. There’s loads of food – we order 15 trays a week but usually receive 18-20 for our money. We order all types – chilled, fresh, ambient and frozen food, everything. The first week, we received a lot of jars and pasta sauces and things which weren’t so appropriate because we want to cook with ingredients, but Fare Share happily takes back any food we don’t want and gives it to other charities.

We’ve also found that some of the Fare Share trays have slightly more unusual foods like grapefruit which many of our trainees have never encountered, so it is a great opportunity to teach them about different fruits and vegetables and how to use and cook with them. One day we got a delivery including mangoes, biscuits and sugar, so we made mango cheesecakes, and because we had enough bulk we could show them how to do it and then let them take some ingredients home to try for themselves.

Has the food met your expectations? Has it been appropriate?

We are working together with Fare Share to get this right and get food appropriate to us, the first week we got tinned foods which we couldn’t use, but have worked with Fare Share to get it right. We now get lots of base ingredients like herbs, cheeses, butter, milk and eggs which is great!

We’ve gotten unexpected foods on top of the usual stuff, just things we wouldn’t normally buy. We received some gram flour and beans, which presented an interesting opportunity to make onion bhaji’s.

Have your members benefitted?

Yes, they get to see all these new foods and also get to take some home. This is really great because many don’t have much money to buy fresh fruit and vegetables; it’s really nice to get so much food that they can take some home.

Have you saved any money? Is it good value and what do you think you have saved?

Its early days but already we are beginning to see substantial savings of around £80 a week.

Did you have trouble organising around Fare Share’s food deliveries?

No trouble. The delivery guys are very considerate and willing to work around us!

Have you had any issues?

Fare Share are so responsive to any issues that we can really work together to get things right

How have you found the Fare Share team ?

Lovely, they are really good and do all the labour bringing everything in and move everything around. The office staff are easy to communicate with and organise what food will be coming in next week.

Did you get any unexpected benefits from your participation?

Getting so much food our money meant we had spare food to send home with our members! This is great because as a charity we can’t go shopping for them and our business, and Fare Share has given us the opportunity to not only carry on their food education at home but also to help some of our members who may have tight budgets.

Overall how satisfied are you with your experiences?

Completely. Can’t fault them at all. We were excited when we first read about it, and despite some worries it would be all jars and boring food we have been thrilled with what we got.

It’s so bizarre that the food is thrown out by Supermarkets because you really can’t see anything wrong with any of this food. It’s so good that this food isn’t just being thrown away but rather is being given to charities for whom every little helps – everyone benefits!

Would you recommend FareShare to other community groups? Why?

Yes definitely, it’s a fantastic project and they work with you towards what you want

Are you going to continue in the future?