Food waste is currently on the rise as events are cancelled and businesses and education institutions shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In light of this, Manchester food waste project Open Kitchen MCR is busy making sure as much as possible is being redistributed to Manchester’s vulnerable and isolated residents.

As of today, the kitchen is starting to prepare good “homecooked” meals and portion them out into microwaveable containers as part of a plan to make and deliver a mix of meals and groceries to people who are struggling during the pandemic.

Corin Bell, the founder of the non-profit said: “As the measures take hold, we imagine there will be a huge number of people affected, including children who would normally receive a free school meal, people in food poverty who would normally visit a food bank or community centre for support, and people who become ill and have a limited network of support around them.

“Donations to food banks are currently down as people who would usually support start to feel the strain. However food waste is currently massively on the rise.[…] So, we’ve decided not to wait.

“We will absolutely continue to coordinate with the Greater Manchester wide effort to respond to people in crisis in a joined up, coordinated way, but as of this morning we’ve got a lot of food, no catering orders, and lots of people who are going to need our help in the coming weeks and months.”

Food from cancelled events is being redistributed to vulnerable Manchester residents I Love Manchester

They are urgently appealing for donations from businesses with food that could go to waste and have also set up a donation page for people to give financial contributions towards the cause if they are able.

Every single penny will go to buy supplies needed to deliver the service safely (cleaning supplies, take-away containers, etc), and to support prep and delivery costs.

Open Kitchen MCR is also appealing for volunteer chefs and drivers to get in touch, as they expect they will likely need more help to get resources to the people who need them over the coming weeks.

The not for profit usually works with a range of businesses to source edible food that will otherwise go to waste and use it to provide meals and food to a range of people.

Under normal circumstances, it operates a waste food catering service to generate income and stamp out food waste to subsidise work supporting vulnerable people with hot nutritious meals, food and supplies.

But having started to be contacted by people who are going to struggle to keep themselves fed during the Coronavirus social distancing protocols, they felt now was the time to move to do more in the community.

If you are able to help at all, get in touch on info@openkitchenmcr.co.uk or on 07851 080 342.

The kitchen can accept donations of the following:

“Un-prepped” food (i.e. raw ingredients, meat, fish, veg, cheese, milk, bread, etc) that has been stored correctly, whether that be fridge, freezer, or ambient.

Prepped foods (e.g coleslaws or salads that have been made up by the food business) that are chilled and are still suitable for use for the next 48 hours.

Any drinks, snacks or crisps that are packaged, even if they are past best before date.

They cannot accept:

Any ingredients or dishes that have been hot held – e.g. curries, meats, rice, etc that has been cooked and held at a hot serving temperature, as it will not be suitable for reuse.

Any products that are past Use By date.

Pre-prepared sandwiches (because they tend to need using on that day, and they can’t get them delivered in time to be useful).

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