A SHOP in Hartford is helping to eliminate food waste by sharing its surplus stock for the most vulnerable.

Co-op, in Chester Road, is working with online platform Olio to help keep communities fed while reducing waste from its store.

Food that is approaching its sell-by date, but is still perfectly safe to eat, is handed over to the Olio team at the end of each day.

Those goods, that would otherwise be thrown away, are then distributed to residents who need them.

Hannah Roberts, store manager, said: "Co-op is committed to connecting communities and operating at the heart of local life.

"This scheme not only prevents food waste, but also, by co-operating and working together, we really can make a difference to those in desperate need of support in our local community.”

It is part of the Co-op's Food Share project to help reduce hunger by supplying surplus food to community groups.

Stock from the Chester Road store has also been handed to residents who are stuck at home isolating in the pandemic, as well as frontline emergency service workers.

Paul Willcox, Co-op’s area manager, added: “I am so proud of the whole Co-op team across the area – the lengths they have gone to keep spirits high, shelves stocked and communities fed during this unprecedented time has been nothing short of amazing. They really are local heroes.”

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Meanwhile, Co-op has been selling The Big Issue in-store during the pandemic to help replace the income stream the magazine's homeless sellers have lost.

The retailer is also supporting the FareShare charity, which helps to support foodbanks, and it has raised £1.5 million so far.

Co-op customers can donate to FareShare in amounts of either 50p, £1, £2 or £5 at the till.

Alternatively, text 'MEALS' to 70490 to donate £10.