There are 8.4 million people in the UK who are struggling to afford food, and it’s becoming worse and worse. But when 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry every year in the UK – of which 250,000 tonnes are still edible – something needs to be done.
Introducing The Felix Project
These are obviously very worrying figures, but it is something that many charities and organisations across the UK are trying very hard to combat. One of which, is The Felix Project based in London.
“Free of charge, The Felix Project collects good quality food from suppliers. We check it’s fresh and then deliver it to charities so they can give vulnerable people a healthy meal or snack. Put simply, we’re saving food and changing lives.”
On a daily basis, they collect surplus food items that would ordinarily be thrown away from various outlets and stores such as EAT, GAIL’s, Pure, Coco Di Mama, Sainsburys and Fortnum and Mason. They then deliver it to charities that feed the vulnerable and disadvantaged through organisations such as The Salvation Army and St Mungo’s.
How it all began
They were inspired by a young boy named Felix, who sadly died very suddenly from Meningitis in 2014. His father states on The Felix Project website: “Felix was full of compassion for those without his advantages and, in early 2015, I was searching for a way to commemorate him. What stuck in my mind was a boys’ football tournament he’d played in. Felix told me he’d been upset to learn that many of the 10-year-old boys on the opposing team hadn’t had anything to eat that day.”
At Zipcar, we’re very proud to support organisations like these, to try and shape a better future for London and the wider UK. Last week, we took over all The Felix Project’s evening shifts to cover the collection and delivery routes in London.
Hear from one of employees who took part
We set out on Monday in the VW e-golfs not quite knowing what to expect. The plan was to arrive at the stores on the collection list just after closing time. The surplus food that the charities accept gets passed on to us and we load it all into the cars using crates and bags. After a few collections, the deliveries commence. After a slightly shaky start on Monday, the subsequent days went without any hiccups and we all felt it was a truly eye-opening experience.
We were all astonished by the sheer number of sandwiches, salads and pastries that would normally be thrown away on a daily basis, were it not for charities such as The Felix Project. Most stores handed the teams about a crate of items at each collection, which amounted to a car (or even a van on some routes) full of food. All of a sudden, the wasted food stats started to make sense.
What made it all worthwhile, was witnessing the utter expressions of gratitude emanating from everyone at the charities. It really does show that we all take something as simple as knowing we will be able to have breakfast, lunch and dinner, for granted. For the people we met, it’s a huge uncertainty.
Zipcar encourage you to please support organisations such as The Felix Project so together we can make a difference. We are so glad that we did, and many of us will be continuing to volunteer with them. Volunteering for The Felix Project is very flexible, as there are daytime, evening and weekend shifts to choose from, as well as driving and non-driving options. Get involved and sign up to volunteer here, or if you’re strapped for time, you can donate money here.