Strath Foodsharing made the first move at the weekend to collect and redistribute food from all available venues in Glasgow, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to close all UK pubs, restaurants, gyms and other social venues for the foreseeable future due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Participating in this move were volunteers from Strath Foodsharing, Strathclyde Students’ Union, Bluevale Boxing Club and other individuals from the wider community. They collected over a dozen cartloads of food from local restaurants such as Sugo Pasta, Caulders Garden Centers Kirkintilloch, Viva Brazil, NY American Grill, Stravaigin, Partick Duck Club , Linen 1906, Piatto, Paesano, Greenhouse CIC, Coias, and Co-op. The food was redistributed to Lights on G1, a charity that helps homeless people, as well as to Annandale Street Care Home, a residential care home which supports older people who are experiencing mental health issues.
Strath Foodsharing Project Manager Marcus O’Shea made an urgent call on Friday 20/03/20 on the WhatsApp Incident Group to all Strath Union staff, asking if they could contribute in the collection and redistribution of food. Many people responded immediately offering their help and support.
The main purpose was to rescue as much food as possible from waste, that could be used to feed anyone who needs a meal five days a week during these extraordinary times starting Monday 23rd March onwards.
Megan McQueen, Strath Union’s Digital Marketing Co-ordinator, tells us her experience of the weekend:
"After hearing the news on Friday evening about the closure of all bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs, our community charity organisation, Strath Foodsharing, needed as many volunteers as possible to help collect and redistribute food that would otherwise go to waste. On Saturday morning I helped call around local food outlets to see if they had any food that could be donated to the other organisations we were working with."
"The response was incredible as so many of the businesses were more than happy to donate their food, as well as cook up fresh meals to go straight to those in need. We stopped off at Viva Brazil, Partick Duck Club, iCafe and Stravaigin where we were given tons of food which we then redistributed to Light on G1, a homeless charity. Stravaigin also cooked up 20+ gallons of tubs of soup that we dropped off at 2 care homes in Govan Hill.”
What is Strath Foodsharing?
Strath Foodsharing is a group of people devoted to fighting food waste in Glasgow. They share food that would be binned by local retailers and redistribute it to the community for free. They also run workshops, events and dinners to help people discover how they can reduce their food waste and fight waste-based carbon emissions, the single largest source of food emissions. It is a collaborative project between the Strath Foodsharing Society and the Townhead Area Foodsharing Hub project, with funding from the Climate Challenge Fund and Keep Scotland Beautiful.
For the past year Strath Foodsharing has had its own designated space in the Strathclyde Students' Union building on John Street, equipped with a fridge and tables on which food that would otherwise go to waste is available for free to students.
However, they are working on plans to move to a new location on Cathcart Road in the southside of Glasgow, for the wider community. The People’s Pantry (Strath Foodsharing's future location in Govanhill) will be a union of all brands into one community project that Strath Foodsharing Project Manager, Marcus O’Shea, will take forward.
The society is currently organising a network of volunteers to collect and deliver food to vulnerable people and those who are self-isolating, with plans to have two e-bikes up and running in the next few days. In addition to that, the project is redistributing food from closing business to local community kitchens and food banks. Please contact us if you would like to volunteer and help out.
Sara Galy, Erasmus Student and Content Writer at Strath Union.