Merck donation buys chiller van to support food poverty

Handing over of keys

FareShare North East, part of the charity Changing Lives, recently received a generous donation of $50,000 USD from Cramlington based pharmaceutical manufacturer MSD.

The large donation from MSD has enabled FareShare North East to purchase a chiller van which will make it possible for food to travel further distances, helping to reach more people at risk of food poverty in our community.

Michael Shields, General Manager FareShare North East, is extremely grateful to MSD for their kind donation.
He said:
“When we received the van we were able to offer all of our customers the opportunity to receive chilled and frozen foods. Previously, some customers received only dry goods as we did not offer temperature controlled distribution across all of our routes at this time. The van has enabled us to provide food to an additional nine new community projects from across the region. 280 additional disadvantaged people from the community projects benefit from our food deliveries on a weekly basis.”

National charity Changing Lives runs the FareShare North East franchise. Changing Lives provides specialist support for thousands of vulnerable people and their families, every month. FareShare supplies surplus food to hundreds of local charities across the UK. They ensure that good food is not wasted by turning an environmental problem into a solution, helping to feed thousands of vulnerable people every day. In the North East, FareShare received 223 tonnes of food in the last year from the food industry, 85% of which was surplus.

Low Res Packing the van
MSD (known as Merck in the US and Canada), an international healthcare company, is committed to making a difference to the lives of people around the world. Starting at the corporate level, this commitment runs strong through the local communities where MSD operates business and production facilities. The company’s Neighbour of Choice program empowers and enables MSD employees to contribute directly to the well-being of the communities where they live and work.
Martin Inskip, Senior Director of Operations at MSD Cramlington said:

“MSD is delighted to be in a position to support such a wonderful organisation that does so much to help people in need in the North East. It is incomprehensible in this day and age that children and adults are going hungry and my staff and I have taken this charity and their work to our hearts – some of our staff have volunteered to work with FareShare in their own time and my management team have spent a day volunteering with the team at Newburn. It’s humbling to see the work done there and work with the other FareShare volunteers and MSD feel privileged to partner FareShare in this venture and wish them every success.”

Since its inception, the Merck Foundation, through which the Neighbour of Choice grants are managed, has contributed more than $740 million USD to support initiatives that address important societal needs in a manner consistent with MSD’s overall mission to help the world be well.

For more information about FareShare and Changing Lives, please visit: and

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How we work

National food distributors supply FareShare North East with food every day where it is stored safely in our warehouses for re-distribution across the region.

Supply us

The types of food we regularly receive include:

  • Pasta
  • Bread and rice
  • Pasta sauces
  • Frozen food
  • Cereal
  • Tea and coffee
  • Tinned foods
  • Chilled & fresh food
Help us

Food is stored safely and then distributed to food banks and community groups across the region.

  • Hostels
  • Night Shelters
  • Day Centres
  • Breakfast Clubs
  • Women's Refuges
  • After-School Clubs
Access us