At FoodCycle we think it's ridiculous to throw away perfectly edible food when there are people who need it in the very same communities - so we're doing something about it. Each week, our teams of amazing volunteers collect surplus food from local retailers and cook it into healthy meals for people at risk from food poverty and social isolation in the community; bringing people from all walks of life together at the dining table over a three-course meal in a warm and welcoming environment.
Over 13 million people are affected by food poverty in the UK yet at least 400,000 tons of perfectly edible surplus food gets thrown away by supermarkets each year. Food poverty can affect many different people, including older people, low-income families, the unemployed, homeless people, people affected by mental ill health, and many others. Meanwhile, there are over 1. 2 million young unemployed in the UK who could benefit from rewarding volunteering opportunities in their community.
Our model is unique. By making use of resources that already exist in the community (surplus food, spare kitchens, and the time and passion of volunteers) we keep costs low and impact high: reducing food poverty by providing nutritious meals to vulnerable groups; reducing food waste by reclaiming it for use; reducing social isolation by bringing communities together; and empowering volunteers to develop skills and create positive social change in their communities.
Since we served our first meal back in May 2009, we've expanded to 18 projects across the UK which have served over 82,000 meals, made out of over 90,000kg of surplus food by a network of over 1200 volunteers who have given over 52,000 hours of their time. But we want to do much more: more projects, more volunteers, more food reclaimed, and more meals served. We're also working at a policy level to help supermarkets to donate more food to charities who can get it to those that need it most.