A North Wales food wholesaler is ramping up aid to struggling families with three mercy missions a week.
Harlech Foodservice have sent 10 truckloads of supplies worth £60,000, including bread, eggs and dairy products and even salmon and steak in the last two weeks
Their latest drops to food banks across North Wales and in Cheshire and Shropshire include 180 boxes of bread, over 10,000 eggs, 79 trays of yoghurts and 98 catering-size cooking sauces as well as bread roll and sponge cake mix.
If it’s not quite feeding the 5,000, it’s not far short after the expanding company, whose customers include schools, pubs, restaurants and care homes, was left with a warehouse full of fresh, frozen, chilled, tinned and non-perishable goods at their headquarters near Criccieth.
Ten of the company’s fleet of delivery vans are now busy keeping food banks stocked up including at Pwllheli, Colwyn Bay, Northwich and Winsford in Cheshire and Telford and Newport in Shropshire.
Harlech’s Digital Project Manager Ceri Brown works with the team to coordinate the supply chain and she said: “Lockdowns have of course resulted in excess stock with last minute Government decisions resulting in additional wasted stock bought in to satisfy school contracts.
“We had to be prepared for the new school term in January but of course when schools were closed we were left with a huge amount of food which we needed to use.
“We are working closely with some incredible organisations to help people hit hardest by the pandemic and we wanted to share it out across our area of operation.
“As the lockdowns continue, it’s a real struggle for our purchasing team managing stock levels, ensuring we have enough stock to meet demand for those customers that are open, but not over buying.”
Among those they supply is the Telford Food Share Project in Shropshire where project founder Lea Beven said: “We’re really grateful to Harlech who make such a huge contribution to our efforts.
“We are subsidising between 100 and 200 families a day. Not all of them are in absolute crisis but many are struggling and would not be able to make ends meet without us.
“Without us the town just wouldn’t manage. It’s been absolutely vital that we are here because there’s no let up at all now that we are in the middle of winter.”
Many of Harlech’s customers have had to close which has severely affected demand but others are fighting back where they can including the Hickory’s Smokehouse chain who are operating a Hickory’s at Home delivery service across the UK.
Care homes, who have been hit hardest by the pandemic, are also being supplied and Ceri added: “We are looking for some more places to deliver to, especially those that can take chilled and frozen food and food approaching it’s best-before date. Not every food bank takes that so we are also keen to hear from those that do.”
Harlech Foodservice has been in business since 1972 and now has bases at Criccieth, in Gwynedd, and Chester and between the two locations, the company employs around 200 staff and runs a fleet of vehicles to deliver more than 10,000 product lines.
They are accredited by TUCO – The University Caterers Organisation, a framework which qualifies businesses to provide catering services for the public sector – as well as by the National Procurement Service Wales.
Harlech’s customers include cafés, restaurants and pubs as well as public sector organisations and an increasing number of care organisations across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.
They recently clinched a contract to supply Denbighshire schools with a million meals a year to add to their existing contracts with Gwynedd and Conwy councils and they also supply leading restaurants and takeaways across the region.
For more on Harlech Foodservice go to https://www.harlech.co.uk/