It's the Southampton charity handing out £1 million worth of food to those in need in the city every year - and it needs your help. 

The Big Difference distributes 25 tonnes of food per month with three members of staff and 35 volunteers serving 85 communities and schools across the city. 

But now the man behind the food redistribution charity, which costs £380 a day to run, is asking for regular donations from residents and supporters to help secure its future. 

Daily Echo: The Big Difference in action


Chief executive Dr Sanjay Mall told the Daily Echo: "The sustainability of this project is crucial as the cost of living crisis continues.

"Many organisations now depend on this charity. The volume of food and the reach The Big Difference has helped thousands of families who are really struggling.

"Many are forced  “into the 'eat or heat' dilemma. The stories that we hear at the Big Difference from our clients are heart-breaking and sobering.

"But this is a project the city should be really proud of."

Daily Echo: The Big Difference in action

Sanjay and a small team first got involved in the food redistribution effort 16 years ago when they set up The Big Breakfast at Above Bar Church. About 15 volunteers still serve a Thursday morning hot breakfast to around 70 guests 50 weeks a year. There is a hair cutting service and a team from The Society of St James and the homeless team from 2 Saints are there to signpost and provide support. 

When these fantastic volunteer-led services came to a halt during Covid, Dr Mall dreamed up The Big Difference, which initially worked with Love Southampton and Southampton City Council to provide food and shelter for 55 homeless people. 

Partnering with the city council, who provide the operational premises in Woolston and SCRATCH, who provide industrial freezer facilities, The Big Difference is now working with more than 60 donors including Iceland, Costco, John Lewis, Waitrose, Fareshare, Tesco, Greggs, Sainsbury's, Lidl , Red Funnel, M&S and others.

Sanjay is asking those who can afford to give a little every month to help make the project sustainable.

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