A volunteer at a food bank said people were being forced to choose between feeding their pets or themselves ahead of the "busiest winter yet".

Hayley Rees began volunteering at the Littlehampton Community Fridge four years ago and has seen its operations grow from a fridge in a library to 30 fridges in a church.

The community hub, which is open five days a week, serves at least 100 people on a "quiet day". 

It receives items from food waste charity FareShare Sussex and Surrey which said it has seen a reduction in surplus food during high cost of living.

Hayley, 44, said: “We have got people choosing between animal food or human food, wouldn’t it be nice if they didn’t have to choose?

“We have people that come every day that we are open, five days a week. They will sometimes queue out there for three hours. They have come to us like as a social group as well.

“We are like a central point for them to find out other places to go for the food bank or furniture or clothes.”

She said customers ranged in age from 16 to 98, with some living in supported accommodation, some being homeless, and others affluent but helping ensure food did not go to landfill.

Across the counties, FareShare Sussex and Surrey said it needed an increase of more than 40 per cent in surplus food to meet demand on its current waiting list.

It redistributes food to more than 150 organisations to help combat hunger and food waste.


The charity receives 70 tonnes of food a month and is aiming to raise £30,000 in seven days to provide more than 120,000 meals for people in its "big give Christmas challenge appeal".

Chief executive of FareShare Sussex and Surrey Dan Slatter urged people to dig deep this winter.

He said: “This winter, we are urging communities to come together to help us provide food for those who need it most across Sussex and Surrey.

“Sadly, we’re expecting demand to reach record levels at a time when we have seen a reduction in surplus food levels amid the high cost of living.

“Loneliness at Christmas can be especially painful. We’re working with charities and community groups who provide communal meals for those who could otherwise be alone.”

Littlehampton Community Fridge operates out of The Great Church Hall at St James the Great Church in East Ham Road, Littlehampton.