Sangha’s Action at Home: Combating Food Poverty with FoodCycle
Action at Home is the final step of the ICS programme. It requires volunteers to complete an activity that will allow them to transfer the skills learned on placement and benefit their home community. Here’s an account of Sangha’s Action at Home where she transferred her enterprise skills to raising awareness of food poverty in the UK.
What was the action and where did it take place?
I volunteered for a charity called FoodCycle and helped organise a Family Activity day in collaboration with St Mary’s church in Sheffield. The day started with a social meal. I collected surplus food from local supermarkets in the early morning which I then delivered to the kitchen and helped cook, along with other volunteers, a delicious three-course meal for anyone in the community who was hungry or lonely (including families with children). I also helped put out signs for the event in the morning and welcomed guests throughout the day. There were activities such as crafts and games organised in the church grounds in the afternoon.
How may people attended?
Did your Challenges Worldwide ICS experience inspire this action?
Have you done something like this before?
What did you learn during this project?
I learnt about food poverty and how it’s within our capacity to resolve it if we don’t waste so much food as a society. I also learnt that poverty is a reality for many people in my community and a space like this makes a significant difference in their lives.
Have you any future plans related to this project?
I will continue to help out during the social meals and Family Activity Days that FoodCycle leads and organises in my community as I am passionate about tackling preventable waste and eradicating poverty. I will also take a leading role in helping the charity advertise their events and make them more accessible to local residents.
How was your action Youth Led?
I took the initiative as a young volunteer to collect food, help with cooking and serving a nutritious meal for a large crowd, clean up afterwards as well as spread the word about FoodCycle and their events through posting signs and flyers out in the community.
How did your action Make a Connection?
My project covered three of the Global Goals: No poverty, No hunger, and Good health. There is poverty in my community which leads to hunger. Since ‘junk’ food is generally cheaper than their nutritious counterparts, this is what poor people eat more of, leading to poor health. By providing a nutritious meal to people who couldn’t otherwise afford it made a huge difference to their lives. Being marginalised leads to poor mental health as well which we helped counteract by giving people a chance to socialise and engage in activities with other people in their community.
How did your action Make a Change?
There was an opportunity for visitors and volunteers to make a donation on the day. This helped raise funds for future social meals and activity days that will continue to benefit the community. All the volunteer cooks were unemployed – the day provided us all with vital employability skills and practice in cooking and hospitality, project management and team work. Furthermore, the FoodCycle programme has gained media attention during a recent nation-wide campaign on curbing food waste within big businesses in the supply chain (‘Stop the Rot’). Even if this individual event may not have directly impacted upon public policy, events such as this, across the UK, collectively have the power to influence policy-making and the food recovery process.
How did your action Engage Others?
The space and time we created gave the local community, especially the poor and the marginalised, a place to go, to belong, to have fun and get involved. In addition, I got the chance to speak to members of my cooking team about ICS, Challenges Worldwide and my recent experience to help spread awareness about this fantastic opportunity. After the event, I spoke to friends and family about my work and experience at FoodCycle which made them aware of food poverty and the opportunities they have to make a difference where