A COMMUNITY project to cut down on food waste is appealing for help amid concerns over vandalism.

Organisers say they are in need of volunteers willing to donate their time to the Halstead Community Fridge.

The scheme, which was started more than two years ago in August 2018, is located on the Causeway and offers residents the chance to donate or collect food which would otherwise go to waste.

Volunteers are needed to help maintain the fridge, collect donations of food from nearby supermarkets and keep the fridge clean.

The call for more helpers also comes following a case of vandalism.

Organisers say it is a persistent problem.

Town councillor Garry Warren is a founding member of the community fridge.

He said: “Individuals in the town also donate food that they can’t use themselves and that others may be able to make use of.

“There have been some setbacks. We have had our fair share of petty vandalism, with food being thrown in the road, bread being broken up and scattered, and eggs broken.

“One of the problems we have is that some people believe that anything put in the fridge building is there to be taken.

“This has included cleaning materials, pens, the thermometers used to monitor the fridge temperatures and, in the early days, even the light fittings.”

Despite the vandalism, Mr Warren says he fridge has been a “resounding success”.

He added: “With our extremely dedicated band of volunteers we were able to keep going throughout the pandemic.

“When people were panic-buying, we were still getting supplies from some stores which meant there were a couple of occasions that the fridge was the only place in town where bread was available.

“It must be remembered that the primary purpose of the community fridge is to prevent waste.

“In these times of climate change, the resources that we use to produce food should not be thrown into landfill.

“The fridge is a resource for anybody and everybody.

"If you can use the food then you can have some of it.

"We just ask that people aren’t too greedy.

“Our team works extremely hard to keep the fridge stocked and sorted.

“We now would like more volunteers to come forward to help maintain our success.

“If anyone could spare a little time, we would be very happy to hear from them.”