Sharing is Caring: My experience as a Food Cycle Volunteer

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What if I told you that there is a way to stop people from starving? What if I told you that this way doesn’t require more from you than giving away what you would otherwise throw away? That you can take something you don’t care about anyway and use it to save a life.

Just the other Sunday I did what you might not even think of doing. I cooked a meal, from nothing more than what would have ended up in the bin.

Ok, to be fair, I didn’t cook the meal. And that was probably for the best.

What I did do was get up at 3pm on a Sunday (and yes, that was hard) to serve food to people that otherwise wouldn’t have had a warm meal, or any meal at all, prepared from leftover food that the supermarket we collected it from would have just thrown away.

This was my first time as a volunteer at Food Cycle and I didn’t really know what to expect. The economic efficiency; that is, not wasting food we spent valuable resources producing on and the social impact; alleviating food poverty amongst those in real need, really appealed to me. But this whole volunteering thing was something completely different. I had to talk. There’s a reason I study Accounting: numbers don’t talk, but people do.

But I was determined to support a cause I could identify with, so I signed up to a volunteering session. And it was nothing like I expected it to be.

It was actually fun! The people I met were a close group of friends and the atmosphere I encountered was warm and inviting. As a volunteer I was included as a simple extension to the group and the conversation flowed easily over good, shared and healthy food.

And that’s when I realized: the Food Cycle concept of combining leftover food, kitchens and volunteers wasn’t solely based on a genius idea (to use what people don’t mind giving up and redistribute it to people that value it not as rubbish but something life-essential), but on people who truly care. People who care that 15 million tonnes of food are wasted each year in the UK, while over 2 million people are living in food poverty and 1 in 6 parents have had to go without food themselves to feed their families. People like you.

In cooperation with the Food Cycle Charity, a group of people who care created the Food Cycle Society at LSE.

If you join the food cycle society at LSE, you will not only become a part of the best newly created society of 2014, but you will be joining a society that supports charity through fundraising and volunteer recruitment. A society that this year encouraged its members to participate in the Breadline Challenge by living on a food and drink budget of £2.86 a day for a week, giving them an idea of what living in food poverty truly means, and thereby raising over £1,000 throughout Michaelmas term. A society that through its stand during Green Week it was able to raise awareness in regards to food waste and poverty in the UK. A society for you.

The society’s committee meets every Friday at 1 pm to discuss ideas of how to increase its impact. Everyone is welcome to come along. If you would like to get involved or see what projects are currently going on, just sign up for the society and like our Facebook page to stay in touch. Alternatively, you can write the committee an e-mail to receive further information: lse.su.foodcycle@gmail.com

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