Food Distribution FAQs

We’ve captured the answers to some of the commonly-asked questions we’ve received over the last few weeks and shared them with you below.

We hope they help answer any queries you may have. If you still have questions in relation to the support and services being provided by #BrumTogether, please contact us on
0121 728 7030, Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm.

We receive food that is past its best before date or is surplus to requirements. By law, we cannot accept or distribute food that is past its use by date (more on use by dates below).

Food can be surplus to requirements for many reasons. For instance, a ‘glut’ of fresh fruit or vegetables can be created because of excess supply and not enough demand. Meanwhile, shops may choose to change their stock or packaging, so no longer require their existing supplies. Or too much food may have been ordered by accident. There are many more reasons in addition to the reasons we’ve listed.

As for the best before date, it relates to quality and not safety. Food is safe to eat after the best before date however, it may not be at its best, i.e. the flavour and texture may not be as good. Please note – the best before date will only be accurate if the food is stored according to the instructions on the packaging.

Use by dates relate to safety and are the most important date to remember. Food can be eaten until the use by date, but not after this point.

In order for the use by date to be a valid guide, you must carefully follow storage instructions. For example, if the instructions on the packaging tell you to refrigerate after opening, you should keep the food in a fridge at 5°C or below.

Once the use by date has passed, don’t eat, cook or freeze the food, as it could be unsafe to consume, even if it has been stored correctly and looks and smells fine. Please note – a lot of foods, including meat and milk, can be frozen before the use by date, so make sure you plan ahead.

For more information about best before and use by dates, check out the guidance on the Food Standard Agency’s website.

We’re sorry if your parcel contains products you don’t like or can’t use, as our aim is to help prevent food waste.

We’re putting so many parcels together every week that it’s not practical to tailor boxes for individual preferences. Please pass on anything you won’t be able to use to somebody who will or hand it back to the delivery driver. Unfortunately, we cannot come back to collect food that you may not be able to use.

Please note – we are endeavouring to cater for people with special dietary needs and other requirements, where possible. You can leave details when you request a parcel about this, and we will do our best to match this, but cannot guarantee we will always be able to.

We are a surplus/waste food redistribution project. By definition, the food we are providing has been identified as waste and donated to us, for numerous reasons.


  • A certain product has been overstocked and the business the food’s come from needs to make room for other products
  • The packaging or label has been damaged or the packaging is outdated
  • The products are customer returns or rejects from substitutions made for delivery customers
  • The food is past the best before date (but never past the use by date), which simply means it isn’t as fresh as the manufacturer would like it to be

We don’t send out anything we don’t believe cannot be used.

You can do this by filling a cup with cold water and dropping the egg in. If it:

  • Sinks to the bottom and lays horizontal, it’s still very fresh
  • Sinks to the bottom, but the fat end tilts up slightly – it’s about a week old
  • Sinks to the bottom, but stands on its point, it’s still good, but needs to be used soon – it’s about three weeks old
  • Floats to the top, and bobs along the surface of the water it’s stale and should be thrown out

Yes, you can make a donation via the #BrumTogether JustGiving page All funds raised will go towards purchasing additional food for those in need.

This is a national emergency. The #BrumTogether campaign doesn’t just feed ‘homeless people’, ‘the needy’, or any single group of people. It feeds everyone.

In order for us to prove the value and safety of food waste, we couldn’t just feed specific demographics of people. We believe food waste is absolutely fit for human consumption and so that’s who we feed – human beings.

Unfortunately not, we can only deliver emergency food supplies to residents who live in Birmingham.

If you live in Solihull and require help, click here. Older people can call Age UK Solihull on 0121 704 7840. People of all ages can also call the Solihull Community Advice Hub on 0121 709 7590.

If you live in Sandwell, the council has written to all of its residents. If you are aware of somebody, who is vulnerable or needs support, you can let Sandwell Food Hub know by calling 0121 569 2266 or emailing [email protected]

If you live in Coventry District, please visit

If you live in Warwick District, please visit

If you live in Worcester District, please visit

We’re not currently offering this service. However, we are working with a number of organisations across the city to distribute food in the form of food parcels.

If you need help with doing a food shop or have a specific list of items you need to buy, then please contact your local COVID-19 support group, who may be able to help. A good place to start looking for these groups is the Birmingham Community Solidarity Facebook page, where people are requesting and offering help, as well as setting up these smaller groups for particular areas.

We can no longer offer regular weekly or fortnightly food parcels. We have a limited number of emergency food parcels available. Please phone 0121 728 7030 to request and we will signpost you to further/alternative support if we necessary.

#BrumTogether Services

If you are an organisation or volunteer interested in supporting and working with us please get in touch

We are working with a network of voluntary organisations  to those in need (either cooked meals or ingredients packages)

All money received will go directly to the purchase of food items, hygiene packs, baby packs, and activity packs for children

If you are feeling lonely and need a friendly chat, or need some food or urgent supplies then please don’t hesitate to contact us

If you are worried and would like to speak to someone from our team for a friendly chat, then please get in touch 

We’ve created this page to store helpful information about our partners and services for local people