Year 8 pupil Isla has been volunteering at the charity Waste Not Want Not. She shares her experience with us below.
I have been helping with Waste Not Want Not during the Covid crisis. It is a charity that feeds over 150 people a day in Battersea and all over Wandsworth. They have gone from operating out of two community centres to four in response to the crisis.
Waste Not Want Not collects food that isn’t perfect enough to sell but still fine to eat, especially when cooked. They get their supplies from New Covent Garden Market in Nine Elms and make up fruit and veg boxes for collection and delivery, and also make hot meals for residents who are elderly or unable to cook for themselves. Over the Easter holidays they provided free school meals for children who wouldn’t have had a hot meal otherwise.
I have been to New Covent Garden Market and helped sort and pick up food. It’s a night market, so we had to leave at 4.30am to get there before the end. One of the things I did was sort through many, many boxes of strawberries, emptying them and only taking out the good ones.
I have also helped with making up the boxes for people to pick up or to be delivered if they are self isolating. The boxes contain the fruit and veg which we collected from the market.
Some of the food that would otherwise have been thrown away is really high quality. We have found purple potatoes and Russell potatoes which are used in top restaurants and really expensive. There is a lot more food available because of lockdown. I had never heard of some of the fruit and veg that we have been given, such as Buddha’s hands (part of the citrus family).
Everything we use is recycled where possible so there is very little waste. Many of the boxes we collect are turned into food containers for delivery. The rest are sent to recycling. I spent an hour taking them all outside so they could be collected.
Waste Not Want Not hires its refrigerated van on a monthly basis which is expensive. It is crowdfunding for a van and driver of its own. If you want to make a donation, please do. It will help to get food out to people more quickly.