I came up with the idea for Free My Meal during the global pandemic in August 2020. I'm a former single mum and know what it's like to be hungry and feed my kid before myself.
I was making a batch of Chilli during lockdown for my family and began thinking about how things may have been different had I still been a single parent family and struggling to survive, during the current climate. I'm ashamed to admit that I wouldn’t have used a food bank or community fridge owing to pride and my own feelings of shame.
Free My Meal is a simple and easy exchange, based on trust and goodwill. Using social media, people sign up to private Free My Meal groups as a ‘recipient’ or a ‘cook’, or in some cases, both. Free My Meal does not provide meals, it simply forms connections enabling people to find one.
The service is suitable for anyone who finds themselves in need of a meal and not having the means to buy the food to make one. Anyone can join with no fear of judgement or discrimination.
The Free My Meal service has proved invaluable for it's users and in just under 7 weeks there are now 24 groups with almost 4000 members with group and member numbers continuing to grow daily. We have reached many places in the UK and now have meals being offered in France, Australia, America and the Netherlands.
Once a new geographic area is identified as having a need for a Free My Meal group, myself and the team (of volunteers) create one and welcome community members to help grow that group to reach cooks and recipients. No one knows their community better than someone living within it, the support from these wonderful volunteers has proved invaluable.
The initiative has been supported by many celebrities and high profile people such as;
Louis Tomlinson - “What an incredible thing to do”
Nigella Lawson - “This is a great initiative”
Kathy Burke - “The kindness in people will always shine through”
Jay McGuiness - “Wonderful”
Antony Cotton - “Be more Hayley”
Press so far includes;
Channel 5 News
BBC Radio Surrey
BBC Radio Sussex
Greatest Hits Radio
Website - www.freemymeal.co.uk
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram - @freemymeal
Twitter - @FreeMyMeal
Link to ITV news interview - https://www.facebook.com/FreeMyMealUK/videos/1176177626110190
Public Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/FreeMyMealUK
Main private Facebook group where meals are offered - www.facebook.com/groups/freemymeal/
Meal Map - https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/2/viewer?hl=en&hl=en&ll=51.28527297725356%2C-0.5596196629283945&z=10&mid=1UJrazI4elclbe4TC0n33s_iVOLtIN7A0
My goals now:
1. Turn Free My Meal in to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.
2. Develop more advanced tech so that the service can become somewhat automated. This would include developing the website.
4. Develop an interactive app for Free My Meal. Quotes so far start at a minimum of £10'000.
3. Pay x2 (part time) admin and myself to continue running the service.
4. Employ the service of a marketing advisor for some advice ad hoc for Free My Meal.
5. Employ the service of a solicitor for some advice ad hoc for Free My Meal.