An army of volunteers is mobilising to collect surplus food — enough to make 1,000 meals a week — for distribution to charities across Cork.
The Food Rescue Project, which has been operating in Dublin since 2014, held an information session for volunteers in Cork last night, ahead of its launch in the city next week.
The team also issued an open invitation for more volunteers to join, and for more food businesses to sign up.
Hundreds of charities collect food donations daily, directly from local supermarkets.
But two social entrepreneurs spotted an opportunity to streamline the relationship, and to scale up the collection and distribution network.
It was set up by FoodCloud two years ago. It uses technology to connect businesses that have surplus food to charities that need it, and it is partnered with Tesco and Aldi.
The supermarkets’ perfectly good food, which would otherwise end up in the bin or landfill, now provides 30,000 meals every week for people in need across the country.
But as FoodCloud grew, its co-founder and CEO, Iseult Ward, said it became clear that not every charity had the resources to collect surplus food from their local supermarkets or food businesses.
“Some charities have a huge need for food donations, but are running very tight operations and don’t have the resources required to pick these up. This is especially obvious in urban centres,” she said.
FoodCloud then launched the Food Rescue Project, which arranges for volunteers to collect food from shops and businesses and deliver it directly to charities.
It has been operating in Dublin for over a year, with 150 volunteers providing a seven-day-a-week service. They have delivered the equivalent of 66,581 meals to charities in Dublin city centre.
FoodCloud’s volunteer coordinator, Ailing Kirwan, said: “We’re delighted to bring The Food Rescue Project to Cork, for the first time. We’ve had huge interest from volunteers, so much so that we’re going to set up two daily food-rescue runs.”
Morning and evening food collections, from the various partner food businesses, will begin from FoodCloud’s base, in Little Island, from next week.
Six charities, including a women’s refuge and a homeless hostel, will receive the food donations, before they decide who is in most need.
The equivalent of 1,000 meals will be delivered every week to people who need it.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer as a collector can email firstname.lastname@example.org, and any food businesses that have surplus food, and that want to get involved, can contact the FoodCloud team on 083-1902585.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved