Spotlight on…The Real Junk Food Project

This ‘Spotlight on…’ blog series is aimed at shining a light on some of the 70+ partner organisations that are making the #BrumTogether campaign possible.

Next up on the spotlight list, is The Real Junk Food Project:

Q. What do you do?

A. We’re a community interest company whose aim is to ‘feed bellies, not bins’ from waste food that would have otherwise ended up in landfill.

We’ve been ‘intercepting’ food from supermarkets before they take it to landfill sites since we formed in October 2014. Due to the volumes of food, we’ve opened Birmingham’s first ‘sharehouse’, a community supermarket where people can come and shop with us twice a week.

Our project isn’t just about feeding those in food poverty. We encourage everyone to eat with us at our community cafes, which helps develop relationships and support networks.

Q. How are you helping #BrumTogether?

A. Thanks to our connections, we were able to quickly collect food from restaurants and cafes that closed back in March 2020. We already have the resources, volunteers and space to collect, sort and distribute food in a timely manner.

Having established good relationships with Birmingham City Council, we’ve been allowed to continue to operate, in line with social distancing measures, from our two main sites – Ladywood and Kings Heath Community Centres.

We’ve been providing people with pre-packed bags of food from outside our sharehouse in Winson Green. We also shared our food, knowledge and skills to help set up the emergency food hub at Ladywood Community Centre.

Q. Are you doing anything else to help Birmingham communities?

A. We’ve been fortunate to have been awarded two grants to support our project. We’ve used the grant money from Severn Trent Water and Heart of England Community Foundation Trust, along with our own reserves, to purchase an electric van.

We’ve been using this van to collect the food that we’re then making available for residents during the current crisis. We’ll continue to use it post-lockdown to continue with helping our local communities in a more environmentally-efficient way.

For more details about #BrumTogether, visit – https://theaws.co.uk/coronavirus/

If you would like to make a donation to #BrumTogether, visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/brumtogether (all money received will go directly to the purchase of food items, hygiene packs, baby packs and activity packs for kids).

Nafeesa Arshad
Author: Nafeesa Arshad