Last month’s Food Waste Action Week (March 18 to 23) saw Hale Community Fridge and Cupboard save 104.5 crates of surplus food going to landfill.

This was just one week at the fridge and cupboard at Hale Community Centre and statistics just released show that food in 558 crates were given away throughout March.

Melissa Salisbury, the centre’s manager, said: “We received 127 of these crates from Aldi along with a massive donation of 8,500 eggs.

“The majority of the food we receive is fresh fruit and vegetables and bread, along with meat, fish and ready meals which we put straight into our freezers to give out.

“Supermarkets also give us their dented tins and items where the packaging is broken but the food is not spoiled.”

Melissa estimates that 70 or more people were accessing the food during the open sessions but that others were picking up fruit and vegetables from the outside cupboard which is open at all times.

“Our primary aim is to reduce food waste but we are also helping people who are living in food poverty,” she said.

“In a survey last year more than half those surveyed said that if they didn’t come to the fridge and cupboard they would be without food or have very little food, at some point in the week. They also said that going there gives them a reason to come out and meet other people so we also help combat loneliness.”

The fridge and cupboard are open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, midday to 1.30pm, and alternate Thursdays at 5.30pm to 7pm. The next Thursday sessions are April 18 and May 2. Anyone can use the service; no referrals are needed. It is mainly run by volunteers and is funded by Waverley Borough Council and Community Foundation for Surrey.