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17 Years of Saving and Redistributing Bread (and Other Types of Food!)

Published: 18 February 2020, Tuesday

17 Years of Saving and Redistributing Bread (and Other Types of Food!)

As Food from the Heart turns 17 this month, we look back on our very first programme: Bread Run.

Food from the Heart founders Henry and Christine Laimer read a report in The Sunday Times about bakeries discarding their unsold bread. Stirred, they decided to channel surplus bread from bakeries to those in need.


Bread Runners

The legwork of our Bread Run programme is done by our volunteers, better known as Bread Runners, on a daily basis - 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

A Bread Runner first collects bread from Food from the Heart's bakery partners on his/her designated route and delivers it as soon as possible (typically immediately) to Food from the Heart's registered beneficiary. Beneficiaries are advised to consume the bread within 24 hours for food safety reasons.

Bread Runners use their own vehicles to complete their routes, paying for their own petrol and parking fees. Food from the Heart started with 120 Bread Runners in 2003. Today, we have more than 1,000.


The Emergency Line

Bread Run duties go beyond collection and delivery; it involves all Food from the Heart staff. The Bread Run Emergency Line (or E-Line for short) is held by members of the staff on a rotational basis every day. As issues often have to be solved within a short time frame during out-of-office hours, the person in charge of the E-Line needs to remain vigilant and responsive at all times.

Some common distruptions to our Bread Runs include bakeries not having enough bread to donate because they are sold out for the day and volunteers being unable to make it for their routes.



To remain accountable to our stakeholders, Food from the Heart tracked the quantity of bread we distributed through a platform. As our database of volunteers grew, we upgraded our tracking system to include the Bread Run routes, partner and volunteer details. In 2015, a volunteer rendered help in the form of his IT expertise to come up with our Volunteer Broadcast System, an app that our volunteers use to receive automated notifications of available Bread Run routes.


As the organisation grows in size and scope, and towards giving more meaningfully, Food from the Heart's operations supporting these efforts will also continue to evolve.

If you see value in our work, you can help us by

Thank you for feeding the needy with us!


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