Get involved with Foodcycle and support your local community
FoodCycle is a national charity established in 2009, with the aim of tackling food poverty and social isolation using donated surplus food. Within the West Midlands, they currently have six projects. Briefly, FoodCycle utilises suitable kitchens in which volunteers cook the fresh surplus food donated, producing healthy hot vegetarian meals for anyone who would like one. The meals are completely free and anyone can just turn up. Typically, guests include low-income families, homeless people, isolated older people, and people struggling to ‘make ends meet’.
Ordinarily, people would arrive to enjoy a free communal 3-course meal – addressing loneliness as well as hunger - and they will be returning to that as soon as it is permitted to do so. Of course, in the current climate, this is impossible. For the duration of COVID-restrictions, they have been setting up weekly ‘Cook and Collect’ projects across the country wherever they can find a suitable space - and the volunteers of course. This involves guests coming along to collect their safely packaged hot meals (and a little extra donated food for people to take away too). For example, at Falcon Lodge in Sutton Coldfield, volunteers prepare and distribute about 130 meals at every weekly session. FoodCycle stringently adheres to all COVID-safe policies of course, including providing PPE for all volunteers and guests and observing social distancing.
So, what is FoodCycle looking for from yourself?
They would like the people of Walsall to know about the charity’s service so that they and their families and neighbours could benefit from nutritious free food. With this in mind, they would welcome contact information on local organisations and community groups, through which potential guests could be reached.
They would like to attract local volunteers, who could be supported and trained. Volunteers will learn about teamwork, leadership and delegation, cooking skills, problem-solving and relationship-building, and among the free training that is provided: Food Safety Level 2, Safeguarding and First Aid.
Finally, FoodCycle would like more local venues from which could provide a weekly meals service. Suitable venues would ideally have a six-hob cooker (or two 4 hob cookers) and would be available once a week regularly for 5 hours. Venues would need to have the capacity to seat at least 40 people at a time. When the pandemic restrictions lessen considerably, each Cook and Collect project will become a venue from which free communal meals services will run again.
If you would like to volunteer or get involved in FoodCycle as a community organisation, please contact: Pamela Walker (West Midlands Regional Manager) by calling 07377 866347 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about FoodCycle, go to www.foodcycle.org.uk