A charity in Leeds will be delivering free Christmas hampers and gifts to any household in West Yorkshire that asks for them this December.
The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) has been raising money online to help fund its Kindness Christmas initiative, which will see thousands of households receive food and presents throughout the festive period.
The initiative hopes to bring some much-needed cheer to Yorkshire after a difficult year, as well as to raise awareness about the issue of food wastage, which TRJFP seeks to combat.
Between December 1 and 23, more than 150 volunteers will deliver goods to the front door of any household that has registered an interest online.
The goods will all be sourced from supermarket and restaurant surplus produce, which though in perfectly good condition would otherwise would go to waste.
Registration is open to anyone residing in West Yorkshire, and so far around 1,000 people have signed up.
Adam Smith, founder of TRJFP, said: “The message behind Kindness Christmas is that can we work together to stop food waste, and anyone can contribute to this.
“We are trying to highlight the impact that leftover food has on the planet, which is why we are inviting anyone to sign up to receive a delivery. Even if we only fed the poor, needy and vulnerable, there would still be waste.
“Everyone deserves access to food and there’s that much of it that we can feed everybody. So, the whole point is to give everyone a nice Christmas and stick two fingers up to coronavirus.”
Kindness Christmas was initially going to take place as an in-person buffet dinner at the LS-Ten indoor skatepark in Hunslet.
However, plans had to be redrawn when the government announced there would be a second national lockdown in late October.
Mr Smith said: “In person or through delivery it’s great to be able to highlight the issue of food waste, but we also need to address the paradox of how we have so much waste and so many people going hungry at the same time in a rich country.
“We must start thinking very carefully about how we are going to deal with this issue, because I don’t want to be here doing this in another five or even ten years’ time.”
Since it was founded in 2013, TRJFP has saved 6000 tons of surplus food from going to waste – the equivalent of 14.3 million meals.
The charity has also inspired the creation of similar projects globally, including in Japan, South Korea, Germany, Israel and France.
The online fundraiser for Kindness Christmas has so far amassed more than £3,000 and has a target goal of £5,100.