A COMMUNITY meal made from food due to be dumped by supermarkets proved to be a delectable treat.

On Friday, a group of kind-hearted Darlington volunteers served up a meal made from food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

The Food for Thought meal, which embraced the work from the From Little Seeds initiative, resulted in dozens of people enjoying a free cooked meal and the opportunity to take advantage of a ‘free shop, where the shelves at the Northland Methodist Church were packed with donated items including tinned and dried food, clothing, essentials and gifts.

The group had already been inundated with donations from supermarkets, businesses and others, but were stunned to be offered surplus stock worth thousands at Darlington’s North Road branch of Aldi.

Organiser Louise Graham explained the driving forces behind the scheme.

“From Little Seeds was set up because the funding for SureStart had stopped and so there was a really shortage of support for families with young children in this local area and they run a playgroup out of this amazing venue,” she said.

“My own personal interest was in recognising there was so much surplus food around and so much waste, yet people are struggling to food on their table which is why we came up with this totally open community event.

"We were welcoming people in at a difficult time of the year, after the excess of Christmas, and encouraging them to enjoy a lovely, home-cooked meal from food we had intercepted from supermarkets and from local businesses – and provide them with a free shop so that they could get the essentials that they need and things that are often expensive and difficult to spend money on when you've got very little.

“We have been completely bowled over by the warmth and generosity of local people and they have provided so many donations to us that we have a fantastic stocked shop.

"We have rescued so much food that we are cooking delicious meals to eat but people are able take away food as well – fresh fruit, vegetables and bread.

“What this has done is, is it has shown us that not only is there a need for this community event but also we need to question how we do things.

"Why is there so much waste from supermarkets? Why is there so much waste when so many people are going without? And we need to look at how we do things in our community.”