* A Food Share volunteer wheels away more baskets of
donations from local supermarkets.
The small team of dedicated and unpaid volunteers at the heart of Zero Waste and Food Share Llangollen were already busy enough before the coronovirus pandemic hit.
But the lockdown has given massive new impetus to the help they have been providing to the local community.
In just the past eight or nine alone weeks the team has made 250 deliveries and collections of essential packs, parcels and surplus to those in need of assistance.
Here, team member Jane Louise Tornado explains what Food Share is all about ...
We have two aims: Stop food waste, reduce food poverty.
It is for everyone. No-one in need goes hungry. Everyone shares the surplus.
We started in June 2019 by collecting food surplus from well-known supermarkets, mainly fruit, veg and bread, sorting it at home and then delivering it to people or taking it to community groups who could use it.
We shared them with people who needed a bit of support to help reduce their food bills and also whoever wanted to join us in using the food to reduce waste.
We were lucky enough to then be offered storage space at Pengwern Community Centre which we are rapidly filling!
* More donated supplies on the way to distribution by Foodshare.
We post up recipes and have recently developed a meal planner that will have a weekly pack to make all the meals on it, which gives a variety of food. This is for supporting someone back on their feet if e.g. they have lost their job and are awaiting benefit payments.
Covid-19 has vastly expanded both what we need to do and what we can do, by means of grants and funding to do so.
Currently we are open 2-2.30 every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at Pengwern Community Centre. We also do deliveries on those days from 2.30-4pm.
So, what do we do?
1. We provide care packs to the over-70s – they can request or a relative can
2. We provide food parcels to people from food we buy, supplemented with food surplus from supermarkets, in instances of losing a job, delay in benefits such as Universal Credit, and before Covid, for people who were on zero hours contracts and had weeks of no work or who wouldn’t use a traditional food bank but are happy to help share with us all reducing food waste, which in turn supports them and reduces their food bill
3. We run a night surplus round four nights a week, delivering food surplus to people (fruit, vegetables, ready meals, meat, bread, pastries, packed food) this is between 7.45pm and 9.30pm we usually finish by.
4. We share the food surplus (veg, fruit, breads) too at the four sessions we do each week at the community centre – anyone can join in with this – we post up when we have lots of eggs, bread, fruit, etc.
Care Packs and Food packs we do:
Approximate costs are (subject to fluctuations due to current availability)
Care Pack costs £12-£13 per pack depending on availability of items
Food Parcels cost: 1 person: £12.00, 2 people: £20.00, 4 people: £30.00
Food surplus from supermarkets:
We have had soups made from surplus food which have been distributed with care packs and food parcels. Soups and meals numbers in the 100s now. Thanks to Steve at the Swan Inn, Pontfadog and more recently this week TynDwr Hall.
We had 35 adults and 30 children on our night surplus delivery list as at the end of April. And we have 20 more people come on to our lists in the last two weeks for help.
The last few weeks
Overall, we have done over 250 deliveries and collections of packs , parcels and surplus in the last 8-9 weeks. These are either to an individual, couple or families, plus the VE Day distribution.
There is a lot of admin, coordination, collecting of surplus food, shopping at wholesalers etc plus dealing with all the cardboard packaging afterwards!
We have also been finding help and signposting people to other services to help them with housing, Universal Credit etc.
We have been very grateful to have funding so far as follows:
Denbighshire Council, Llangollen Town Council, The Welsh Food Poverty Grant via Flying Start, Llangollen Raffles, Evans Home Improvements and Joinery, Jane’s UAREUK birthday fundraiser and several private donations.
We have had donations of surplus food from businesses, for which we are very grateful and we have had two food deliveries from Flying Start from the Welsh Food Poverty Grant.
And last week we had a big delivery from a local resident who works at Kelloggs which will keep Llangollen breakfast bowls full.
You can join our page at www.facebook.com/llanfoodshare
By the work we do at the foodshare we have built up trust also of the users and helped them by identifying other services that could help them/signposting.
Food Share was set in June 2019 and was run from home until we started doing sessions at Pengwern Community Centre, where we are now lucky enough to have a base.
It’s run by Jane, Kirsty, Steph and Lesley, with Jen also kindly running our Friday session to give us a rest. We are all unpaid volunteers.
The need is such that we have, through one of our volunteer’s other charities, set up another separate fund to help Wrexham residents who are struggling to access help.
We have had some really touching messages from people we have delivered too and a few tears shed all round.
Our fundraising link to help us continue our work will be up in the next few days and we will share it with everyone.
We are also hoping to find a local shop or two who can collect food for us and also a shop or two to have a virtual donation charity tin for us which can be used contactless.
We continue our mission to make sure no one goes hungry and that food is not wasted.