Our project was initially established in 2015 to stop unsold supermarket food from going to waste, and instead, #feedbelliesnotbins. The project has gone on to receiving Suffolk’s Greenest County Award among others, along with national recognition from BBC Radio 4, and more recently, since the global virus outbreak, Royal Recognition from her Majesty The Queen’s office.
With December fast approaching, and with the support of East Suffolk Council, we have been able to buy in even more food from national charity Fareshare who intercept unsold food and charge us £36.70 per 100kilo. We recently upped our intake from 400 to 600 kilos a week to meet our community’s growing need, that’s over 2,500 kilos a month. And quite often, we deliver that food for as little as £1 without a delivery charge to help reduce some of the impacts of Covid-19 within our community.
Offering the food as low as this, does mean we absorb a hefty financial deficit. In response to the pandemic, between May and September, we absorbed £8038.00 worth from discount codes being used. With the support of those paying it forward, we raised an amazing £1761.00 toward that, but leaving a deficit of £6277.00 left to raise. Even with the help of East Suffolk Council, who recently gave us £1,000 towards buying food over Christmas, we are increasingly aware government funding is fast depleting. In fact, the community hardship fund we have used before to pay for food or build a walk-in fridge at our hub to keep the food fresh before dispatch, was capped recently to just £1,000. They gave us all they could. We now need to find other ways to financially support the community and continue to offer healthy nutritious food, so we’re asking those within it, to help those who need it. We’re merely the facilitators; let this be your gift to them this Christmas. Pay it Forward. Whatever you can. And we’ll keep sending food out to those who need it most.
We know together, we’re making a difference, and here’s how:
“Oh my goodness thank you so very much, what an amazing lot of food we received today. Sorry I was sleeping when you delivered I am recovering from cancer treatment and get very tired. I wish I had used your service before now. I was under going treatment all through lockdown and it would have been amazing to have used your service then. At least I know now. Thank you all so much again.”
“ I have just tried your food for the first time, Cream of Chicken soup. I'm a fussy eater, and hate tarragon, but you have changed my mind. First time I have never added salt to a meal, so hat's off to you. Scrumptious, meaty and still licking my lips. I'm due to go back to work, so will be ordering meal's, as I never have the energy to cook when I get home, due to my disability. Thanks to your wonderful cooks and volunteers.”
“Hi, I have just placed my second order, thanks so much, the fruit and veg was fantastic. Money is tight side my husband lost his job in March and got a new job at half his previous wage, now we are being evicted as the landlord wants to sell the house and we can't afford to buy it. I want to thankyou for such an innovative and caring project. I don't have a lot of money but I do have some time, so do you take on volunteers to help prepare and deliver? I would be happy to help.”
“I recieved my first box of prepared meals today! I can't describe what I'm feeling right now, I broke down in tears with relief and I wish I had done this sooner! For around 2 years now I have struggled due to my disabilities. I'm unable to prepare and cook meals and I have a personal assistant who only comes in 3 times a week, so those were the only days I was eating a proper cooked meal.”
This won’t be an easy Christmas for so many, but access to food is a basic human need: let’s help meet that need.