A supermarket scheme aimed at tackling food waste is appealing for community groups to come forward and take advantage of free fresh produce on offer.
Tesco Extra, in Belle Vue Way, Hartlepool, is giving away fresh produce at the end of each day as part of a national scheme called Tesco Community Food Collection.
The supermarket is calling on non-profit food providers such as charities, breakfast clubs and soup kitchens in the are to join up to the scheme by registering their interest online or by popping into the store.
The initiative works by sending a text message each day to organisations involved with the scheme, informing them of the food on offer for them to come along and collect for free and give to people in need.
Fresh produce includes baguettes baked in store as well as fruit and vegetables that are still fine to eat but are no longer saleable by law.
Selina Wilson, who has been a Community Champion at the Hartlepool store for 10 years, urged groups to come forward to take part in the scheme.
She said: “The scheme has been going for a year now and is part of a national Tesco drive to get rid of food waste.
“We are partnered with FareShare FoodCloud who assess the applicants for the scheme, in accordance with food safety and handling guidelines.
“If they pass the health and safety criteria, they are added to the scheme through an app on their mobile phone.”
She added: “Charities will receive a text each evening to let them know what we have available, and they then confirm if they want to collect any food that evening to use the following day.
“Currently we only have one charity, the Wharton Annexe, who are benefitting from this, but there is so much more to go round.”
Selina, 36, added: “It is all fresh produce such as bread, vegetables, fruit and eggs. “The quantity of it depends on trade on the day, but generally we have around 50 baguettes left over and they should be sold on the same day by law.
“All of the food is absolutely edible, but because of the rules and regulations we have to follow it would be thrown away otherwise.
“So any charities that don’t take up the offer are missing out, which is a great shame because Hartlepool is a place where there is a lot of need.”
For more details and to sign up please visit: ww.fareshare.org.uk/fareshare-foodcloud