Did you know that over one million people in the UK require foodbanks? Over the winter months it can be particularly hard for families on low incomes.
One of the great perks of working at CAN is that it provides two paid volunteering days per year to its employees.
I found out about Manchester based social enterprise Bounceback Food via the School of Social Entrepreneurs weekly newsletter and decided I wanted to use the days to offer my help.
I worked remotely by contributing to their new recipe book, writing a blog on ‘Period Poverty’ and researching the latest innovations to tackle food waste.
Bounceback Food is a social enterprise that was set up to tackle food poverty by donating the same food item you buy to your nearest foodbank through a ‘buy one, donate one’ model. Its founder, Duncan, started the business in Manchester in 2014 after being inspired by volunteering at foodbanks.
Last year, the team secured its 5000th food bank donation with a goal of 20,000 donations by 2020.
The organisation is in the process of building an online shop that will enforce the ‘buy one, donate one’ model and enable consumers to support foodbanks across the UK on a regular basis.
They are also working hard to develop two other separate enterprises: Bounceback Education and Bounceback Health.
Did you know?
1.1 million parcels of 3-day emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis last year
– Trussell Trust (2017)
4.6 million people in the UK live in ‘persistent poverty’ making it hard for them to afford every day essentials
– Office for National Statistics (2017)
Bounceback Food run a community cookery course with ticket funds supporting foodbank users. It will be launching a recipe book consisting of simple recipes from around the world.
I was given eight countries and spent one day researching the recipes to input into the Canva document. It proved to be a (fun) challenge as the recipes had to have ingredients easily found in a supermarket, possible to make in under an hour and healthy. I struggled more with some of the countries, including Argentina and Norway. It’s now only right that I test all the recipes…
I love using Canva as design software; it is intuitive with plenty of fun layouts, images and fonts and you can create pretty much any document on it (great for a marketer).
For Bounceback Health, I wrote a blog on the issues surrounding ‘Period Poverty’, a topic that has been widely covered by the media recently. It was quite upsetting to read about stories from women who could not afford to buy proper sanitary products. However, I then started to read about some fantastic initiatives that have been set up to address the problem, such as #FreePeriods, a petition started by 18-year-old Amika George for girls on free school meals to receive free menstrual products. Food banks are also getting involved by offering sanitary products alongside food parcels.
There are even organisations that produce sanitary products from cheap materials that are accessible to all. In Sierra Leone, One Girl found that women were using unhygienic cloth material, girls did not attend school if they were on their period and only 10% had heard of sanitary pads. LaunchPad was set up by One Girl to empower local women to sell MakaPads, biodegradable low cost sanitary pads, manufactured by Ugandan organisation Technology for Tomorrow.
Bollywood will challenge the taboo surrounding periods in India with the release of the film Padman about a male entrepreneur who invents a machine to create sanitary pads to distribute to rural women across India.
Whilst researching innovations to combat food waste, I found some really creative and inspiring examples, including Olio, a food sharing app that allows consumers to give away leftover food by connecting with people in the area, coffee grounds are being used to fuel buses and Rubies in the Rubble make relish from ‘wonky’ fruit and veg.
I ended my volunteering feeling very inspired and reassured that when you find a problem, there are so many creative ways that it can be addressed.
If your place of work has given you the opportunity to volunteer, take it (you should anyway if you can) because not only can you share your skills, but you can step outside of your daily routine (perhaps even escape the desk for a bit!) and experience the workings of another business.
Good luck Bounceback!