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. Inside the foodbank we also have a 'Room of things' from where people can take what they need. We are about to expand the access of this room to other service users: Those residing in hostels, Parents in need, Care leavers, etc. Items in this room come in donated almost on a daily basis from service users, volunteers and the wider public. These items need checking and organising into the room itself and our excess storage area on a regular basis. You can come and do this on the time and day that suits you but we ask that you commit on a regular weekly basis or alternate weeks. This can be done alone or in pairs if you want to volunteer with a friend.
More about the work we do: 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.
Checking thru bags and checking the donated clothing and household items are fine to be passed onto others in need. And wasting what is not suitable - everything is seperated to be taken up to the recycling centre in Kentish Town - hard plastics, metal, wood, electronics, shoes, textile and even batteries. To put aside any electronics that may require PAT testing and to test out any items that require batteries which we have a supply of. To clean items if that is needed; for example a child's toy that needs a bit of a wipe down. We have an excess storage area for clothing items to go into. This is sorted into category and we would like it seperated into sizing too. You'd be liaising any questions and concerns with our in-house coordinator and other volunteers. In particular our volunteer Donna who we have assigned as the volunteer room manager on how to dress the 'Room of things'.