The Shia Ismaili Muslim community in the UK has joined forces with food charity FareShare to provide essential meal supplies for disadvantaged and vulnerable people across the UK.

The 3.5 tonne food donation - providing 8,500 meals for people at risk of hunger - was made as a collective with Spectrum Buying Consortium and Bidfood, as part of a new initiative known as Ismaili CIVIC.

Ismaili CIVIC is a volunteer initiative, led by the Ismaili Muslim community. It is aimed at making a positive contribution to improving quality of life for civil society, across the UK. It is a legacy initiative representing the continuous commitment to adding value to the country in which the Ismaili community lives. The ethic of giving of one's time and knowledge to help others is central to the community’s values.

FareShare is the UK’s biggest charity fighting hunger and food waste, redistributing surplus food in the supply chain, which would otherwise go to waste, onto 11,000 charities and community groups nationwide. In a bid to create long-term positive change to those facing hunger and food insecurity in the UK, the partnership with FareShare aims to reach as many people as possible via their network of local charities.

[Case Study: Derby Food Forum is one of thousands of projects receiving regular food deliveries from FareShare. The project formed the Food4ThoughtAlliance at the start of the pandemic, and at the peak was supplying ten foodbanks, six schools, the cities' homeless provision and various local organisations working with the vulnerable.
Reverend Paul Desborough, who helps run Derby Food Forum, said: “Our weekly FareShare delivery helps to supply local foodbanks - which between them are providing 300-500 food parcels each week - to people who are in challenging financial situations where they are short of money for food. Covid has affected families financially, physically, nutritionally, and mentally - having fresh fruit and vegetables makes so much difference to the usual food they are given, or they can afford. To quote one of our recipients, ‘it has been the difference between life and death.’”]

Speaking about the donation, President of the Shia Ismaili Council UK, Naushad Jivraj, said:
“FareShare plays a critical role in supporting hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people each week, including children, homeless people and the elderly. There has never been a more urgent time to support our communities in need, and this is what Ismaili CIVIC endeavours to achieve. This initiative exemplifies Islam’s core values of service, peace, compassion, and care for the vulnerable. This vital donation would not have been possible without the huge generosity of our donor partners - Spectrum Consortium and Bidfood, and marks the start of a valuable partnership with FareShare.”

Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive at FareShare, said: “FareShare is continuing to work tirelessly to get vital food supplies to those most in need in towns and cities across the UK throughout these extraordinarily difficult times. It’s never been more important to connect surplus food with charities who can make best use of it, and we’re grateful to the Ismaili community, Spectrum Consortium and Bidfood for their support at this crucial time. With their support we have distributed food supplies to projects including community centres, food banks and homeless shelters.”

This endeavour - which was made up of 16 pallets of surplus food and two pallets of donated food - lent upon its relationship with Spectrum Consortium - a buying consortium for the care industry, set up by members of the Ismaili community in 2002. One of its preferred suppliers, Bidfood, very generously supported the initial food donation by Spectrum Consortium worth up to £10k, by making an additional donation of food worth up to £26k. Bidfood is a leading foodservice wholesaler, supplying food supplies to customers in a wide range of sectors for over 20 years.

Arif Pradhan, Chairman of Spectrum Consortium, added: "The Chairman and Directors of Spectrum Buying Consortium decided to initiate this partnership with Ismaili CIVIC. On behalf of all the members, we are extremely delighted to make this donation to FareShare and offer our support to those who have been hit so hard during this very difficult time. By engaging with one of our key suppliers, Bidfood, and bringing them into this meaningful collaboration we have been truly humbled by their offer to match our donation. This donation marks the start of a hopefully longstanding and exciting partnership between Spectrum, its suppliers and Ismaili CIVIC, working towards improving the quality of life of our wider community."

Julie Owst, Head of Sustainability at Bidfood, added: “Partnerships are key to progress, as we always achieve more when we combine our strengths. This is a fantastic achievement at a time when more and more people are dependent on support from within the community, so we’re delighted to contribute to such a crucial initiative that reinforces our commitment to help the vulnerable and combat food poverty.”