‘Supermarkets waste ‘360 million meals that could go to needy’ every year’. This was a headline I saw in The Independent in May and I thought that it was a good opportunity to speak about one of my favourite small charities this Small Charity Week and about innovation in the sector.
The article explains that 1.1million tonnes of food is being ‘avoidably’ discarded every year. That’s an incredible amount of food. In the charity sector, we talk often about the demand on charities, such as the Trussell Trust, and other food banks due to rising inequalities and poverty hitting all parts of the UK. It’s easy to see, looking at the above numbers, that some of that food poverty could be easily alleviated through charitable activity.
The survey that has discovered this incredible waste was government commissioned and carried out by waste and resources charity, Wrap. They are working to create a world in which resources are used sustainably. They’re doing fantastic work to get legislation and policy in place and to change cultures within businesses and government to essentially make the world free of the kind of waste heard of in the Independent article.
However, one of the charities in the UK that is tackling food waste, social isolation and food poverty on the ground; helping those who are affected now and can’t wait for mass change to happen, is FoodCycle.
FoodCycle are an incredible, small charity, they operate where communities need them most whilst helping to reduce food waste in the UK. They take all surplus food from supermarkets and other food providers and work with their team of volunteers in their Hubs to create delicious and nutritious food for local people affected by social isolation and/or food poverty.
Founded in 2009 to battle food waste and poverty they have gone from strength to strength with, in 2016, around 30 hubs in the UK. This to me is an example of innovation, seeing a need and delivering in a fun and impactful way.