Thanks to a team of 50 local volunteers supporting a small team of 3 people we run a surplus foodbank very close to UCL campuses in Somers Town (NW1 1ES) just north of the Euston Road behind the British Library. We collect surplus from circa 45 local supermarkets and stores every week using a mixture of hand carts, bicycle trailers, cargo bike and cars. This surplus is sorted thru at our surplus foodbank and redistributed to 80 local households who visit the foodbank. Our volunteers also take the surplus and redistribute it to support 11 local hostels, 1 after-school club and a church group. Due to the nature of mixture transport: 36% of our collections are carbon avoided and 72% of redistribution is carbon avoided. We take in circa 15 tonnes of surplus food every quarter! Food and packaging that would have otherwise gone to waste/ incineration. We also operate a surplus cart outside for member of the public to engage with. The rise in energy bills means that there are many people in need in the local area. Just under half of all those we support in-house are children; circa 125. Our beneficiaries are hard-to reach communities and have English as an additional language. Mostly Somali and Bengali households. Thanks to volunteers we have been able to support some homes back into employment. The majority of people prior to the pandemic worked in the service and hospitality industry. We have so many opportunities for volunteers to engage with. What we ask from you is an 'intersectional' approach to how you treat people and a commitment to a regular shift on a weekly or two weekly basis. Do check out our instagram for more information.
Surplus food collector:
We collect surplus food from 45 stores every week in the local area from the local Sainsbury, Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose, Getir, Wholefoods, Costcutters to name a few. Items that would otherwise go to inceniration. Your duties would be to collect this surplus either:
- On foot using our handcarts
- By bicycle using your bicycle - we will attach a permanent hitch to your rear axle so you can hitch on/off
- By car - if you are lucky to be a car owner and are happy to use it to collect surplus
- Using our e-cargo bicycle which is an 'Urban Arrow L' - you must be proficient to use this but we can also arrange training
We provide you with instructions, hi-viz or lanyard and our in-house coordinator will communicate your routes to you. Usually you'll do 2 pick-ups at once, and we also make sure pick-ups are close to one another. You can expect up to 4 pick-ups per session. Pick-ups are done from 11am till about 1.30pm; once you're done you can leave.
Surplus food redistributor:
Excess surplus that we collect is used to support 11 local hostels and an after-school club. Once the collections are done, our team quickly sort thru the supplies and get them ready to be delivered by you to the local hostels. We aim to have them ready to go out by 2pm/2.30pm. Per day we have up to 4 hostels that we support. Your duty would be to take these supplies directly to them on foot or by bicycle (or car if you are a car owner). To communicate with staff on what you re bringing them; for example: Pointing out anything that needs to go in the freezer. And bringing back any items that they say would not be helpful (rare) as well as empty crates that we use for sending the items in. This usually takes 1-2hrs per session for the volunteer, once you're done you can leave. Please note: We have the delivery ready to go out by 2/2.30pm but can delay pick-up by you till about 4pm if this suits you better. We are flexible in this sense.
We ask that you commit to a regular shift every week for either pick-up or redistribution. Every other week set-up is also possible.
We need collectors between 11am till about 1.30pm and redistributors from 2.30pm onwards for about 1-2 hours. This is for Thursday to Monday - which also includes weekends. Please pick a shift that you can commit to regurlarly.
Our volunteers let us know in advance when they have pre-planned time off. This allows us to put a shout-out on our volunteer whatsapp group for cover.