Food Rescuers, a new student-based non-profit, is hoping to tackle both food poverty and waste throughout Oxford by delivering edible leftover food to homeless people around Oxford.
Over £19 billion worth of food is wasted in the UK every year, with 85% coming from households and the hospitality industry, accounting for 5% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Alongside this, food poverty has only been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, with household food insecurity across the UK rising significantly. Oxford also has a well-documented homelessness problem, with the Oxfordshire Homeless Movement and other such initiatives fighting this.
As such, Food Rescuers aims to reduce food waste in Oxford, particularly through engagement with the hospitality industry. They have partnered with a range of companies, from national chains like Franco Manca to independent coffee shops such as the Tree Artisan Cafe. They have also partnered with the global food delivery service UberEats, who have donated food delivery bags for safe delivery of hot meals.
Shariq Haidery, the founder of Food Rescuers, commented:
“The challenges that homeless people face is something I have been deeply concerned about since a young age. Seeing first-hand the struggles of the homeless throughout central Manchester made a lasting impression on me, and I’ve always wanted to do something about it. It’s this drive to help others that drove me to start Food Rescuers at university. I am thrilled to share our partnership with UberEats and the donation of food delivery bags they have given us. Their generous donation means we can safely deliver hot food to the homeless around Oxford. I hope to share more exciting news about our partnership with them in the future.”
Volunteers (called Food Rescuers) will undergo training sessions, before taking up shifts on a weekly basis. This allows Oxford students to fit food rescuing around their busy schedules. For each shift, volunteers call the partner companies at the end of their working day and ask if they have leftover food. If a partner has some leftover food, the volunteers will pick it up and distribute it to homeless people around Oxford.
Shariq also stated:
“For the time being, I’m entirely focused on ensuring that Food Rescuers is a success here in Oxford. If it is successful here in Oxford, I don’t see why it can’t also be set up elsewhere as a charity to help those who need a meal across the UK.”
Question: What are your long term plans with Food Rescuers?
For the time being, I’m entirely focused on ensuring that Food Rescuers is a success here in Oxford. If it is successful here in Oxford, I don’t see why it can’t also be set up elsewhere as a charity to help those who need a meal across the UK.