Food waste charity FoodCycle has now served over one million meals to vulnerable people across England, the food waste charity has announced in its 10-year impact report.
The volunteering organisation, which tackles food waste by using surplus food and spare kitchen space to provide and host nutritious meals for those in need, welcomes 1,400 people through its doors each week in 39 projects nationwide.
Since it was established in 2009, the charity says it has used almost 500 tonnes of food that would otherwise have gone to waste, as well as helping lonely people feel more part of their community.
Over 275,000 diners have eaten at the charity’s community kitchens, staffed by over 8,200 volunteers who have given up more than 225,000 hours of their time.
Mary McGrath, chief executive of FoodCycle, explained the additional benefits – beyond feeding those in need – that the charity provides.
“For many vulnerable people who come to us, a FoodCycle meal is the one chance a week they have to share a meal and a conversation with others,” she said.
“We have served an incredible number of meals, but we have also created countless conversations, friendships and positive experiences that come from sitting down and eating a meal together.”
Research by Kellogg’s showed that falling incomes and rising food prices are making it more difficult for the UK’s poorest households to afford a healthy diet, forcing them to cut back on fruit by 20 per cent and vegetables by 12 per cent.
Of those benefitting from the FoodCycle’s community meals, 76 per cent said have eaten more fruit and vegetables since they began attending.
Over half live alone, 72 per cent feel lonely, and 66 per cent worry that their food will run out because they do not have enough money to buy more.