A NEW initiative to support families and reduce waste has got off to a flying start in Callington.

Devon and Cornwall Food Action (DCFA) handed out 85 boxes of fresh food and provisions as it launched its monthly scheme in the town.

Aided by the town council and local helpers, volunteers packed up items including fresh fruit and veg, pies and pasties and pet food, ready to be collected by those who had signed up.

The Callington pop-up hub will now take place in the Saltash Road car park every last Thursday of the month for at least the next five months.

To join up, people simply need to fill out a form via the Town Council and then pay £25 on the day, receiving goods worth more than £80 if bought in the shops.

John Stannard of DCFA said: “Thankyou so much to Callington Town Council for giving us this opportunity to provide for people out there during this cost of living crisis. It was a very successful day made all the better by the assistance of the council and other local volunteers. 

“Thanks also to Cornwall Bakery for their sponsorship. They’re absolutely fabulous in what they do for us to help people with provisions.”

The Food Box scheme has a dual purpose: it’s there to support families and individuals in hardship by providing quality food and goods at a fraction of the usual price. It also prevents surplus produce from being thrown away, reducing waste and the impact of wasted food on the environment. DCFA works wth supermarkets and producers to intercept food that would otherwise go to landfill, although the charity increasingly also has to purchase items for the boxes.

The project has already been running in the Tamar Valley for several months, and last year across Devon and Cornwall as a whole the equivalent of 200 tonnes of food was redistributed.

The Food Box scheme is different to a Foodbank as anybody who wishes can be part of it – but DCFA says that for those experiencing a period of hardship, the parcels are a lifeline.

A spokesperson said: “We ask for a donation of £25 because we are a registered charity, not a food bank.

“It goes towards electricity, storage, refrigeration, warehouse costs, vehicle upkeep and fuel, and the purchase of additional food items.

“Not only are we repurposing otherwise lost-to-landfill food and other donated goods but we are feeding individuals and families at the same time. We are a full-circle charity for those facing a period of food poverty or food crisis but who don’t necessarily require the service of a food bank.

“Our food boxes contain a wide variety of goods including fresh, frozen, tinned and ambient products. Where we can, we also try to include additional items such as household goods or toiletries.”

Speaking on the day of the first pop-up hub, Cornwall and town councillor Andrew Long said: “Great work from Cornwall Devon and Cornwall Food Action and Callington Town Council helping over 80 families with food – a massive thanks to Calstock Parish Council for helping us with the first event - and to those councillors who came to help - what an amazing town we live in!”

The next pop-up Food Box delivery will be in Gunnislake on Monday, March 11 and then Devon and Cornwall Food Action returns to Callington on Thursday, March 28.