The amount of food we have intercepted from local supermarkets so far Our Food Waste Impact
(Rounded to the nearest 5kg)
which equates to a CO2 saving of:
(calculations guided by the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)
The Community Pantry is open:
Mondays and Fridays
10.00 am – 12.00 noon
Our Pantry Hampers are available on collect on Thursday mornings
9.30 – 10.45am
We are situated at St Helen’s Parish Hall, Middlewood Green, DL14 9DL with plenty of parking available.
(The building is the community centre next to the play area and accessed via the road next to the church – map below)
Following the announcement that restrictions will be lifted on July 19th, we have collectively made the decision that all of our team members will continue wearing masks and adhere to social distancing past this date in order to protect your health.
We are aware that we have some users who are immune suppressed, otherwise vulnerable and/or extremely anxious over the lifting of these measures. We hope that these continued measures help to reassure them, as well as others, that we take your health and wellbeing seriously.
Other guidance will still stay in place:
- IMPORTANT: PLEASE REFRAIN FROM USING OUR PANTRY IF YOU/A CLOSE FAMILY MEMBER HAS TESTED POSITIVE OR YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD TO ISOLATE OR YOU DISPLAY COVID 19 SYMPTOMS (A HIGH TEMPERATURE, A NEW, CONTINUOUS COUGH, A LOSS OR CHANGE TO YOUR SENSE OF SMELL OR TASTE). THIS IS REGARDLESS OF YOUR VACCINATION STATUS.
- All users will be asked to use the hand sanitiser provided at the entrance prior to entering the building. This will be a continued hygiene measure due to our stock of loose food.
- Users are advised to wear a mask to protect others, but the decision to do so will be left to the individual.
- We ask that you respect our request to maintain a social distance from others who you do not know as they may be vulnerable or extremely anxious.
Staff and/or volunteers will be taking every precaution to keep both users and themselves safe.
We thank you for your patience and understanding
Each step is conditional and can be reversible if we feel that public and our own safety is compromised.
What is the LCBC Community Pantry?
The Community Pantry is a small ‘store’ open to ALL members of the community and aimed at reducing food, non-food and plastic waste whilst helping everyone to save money.
By helping change mindsets over using surplus foods, we not only hope to reduce perfectly edible food going to landfill and impacting our beautiful planet, but also help to reduce household expenditure on food.
Did you know that the average family wastes 244kg of food each year with a value of £730*? I’m sure that this would be better off in pockets than down the drain!
(Source: WRAP 2020)
What will be on offer?
As a charitable organisation, we collect surplus food such as bakery, storecupboard, fruit, vegetables, some chilled and frozen foods, as well as various non-food items including flowers and occasionally clothing and household items from local stores. We also pay into a membership scheme and purchase some foods in order to be able to offer a wider variety. The amounts and types of food and non-food vary so this will be reflected on what will be offered each week.
We can offer guidance and recipes on how to use the different foods (just like a traditional greengrocer or butcher) and how you can use leftovers. Leaflets on how to use up foods, recipes and recycling will also be available. We can also signpost the community to services and activities in the area through literature and our own knowledge of what is available.
Children's Snack Bags
Our FREE children’s snack bags are available all year round. These contain nutritious snacks, a little treat and simple printed activity aimed at primary school aged children. During school holidays, we also include additional activities and sometimes a little extra to bring a smile.
These are fully funded by the income from our pantry.
Pay It Forward
We now have a Pay It Forward initiative which shows the kindness in the community. These are simply £3 post it notes which anyone can donate, or take one to access the offer. This can then be taken off the contribution cost of the basket.
How will it work?
- Simply take a basket when you arrive and follow your way around our one way system to pick up what you will use. We kindly ask that you DO NOT put items directly into your bag. Foods and non foods are arranged separately in the hall for your convenience. We have team members who are able to give guidance and offer support if needed.
- All items will be available for a small service contribution reflective of what you take. Once you have chosen the items you need, one of our members will tally up your basket. An basket of mixed items will range between £2 – £6, though a very high number of items will incur a higher contribution. All contributions will go towards covering overhead costs thus helping us to continue this project and go towards other initiatives which we offer such as our FREE snack bags for children.
- We can accept card payments, Apple/Google pay, PayPal or cash, whichever you prefer. It is preferable if you can make contactless payments.
- We put a restriction on how many certain foods can be taken in order to make this fair to everyone. We ask that you are considerate of others when taking food and flowers for this reason.
Will the food offered be safe to eat?
YES, YES, YES! The food we collect is surplus stock. This can be the result of over-ordering, stock which will not scan, a damaged box, donations from the public/shops, or some foods can be near, or just past the best before date but this is still safe to eat. Best before refers to the quality of the food, not the safety, so for example, the texture may be different. We can only pass on foods with a use by date if we can freeze them on this date. We then label this appropriately with guidance of when to use. This is perfectly safe and legal as freezing acts as a ‘pause’ button.
Due to cross contamination of foods such as bakery, we have to advise that those with severe allergies should not use the pantry.
We wish to actively reduce the stigma and fear of consuming food past its best before date and truly believe that we need to return to using our own judgement on these foods and in doing so, reduce our food waste and therefore our impact on the environment.
Photographs courtesy of Beth Newby
These fantastic images of food from our pantry were taken by Beth who volunteers to help when she can.
Example of £3 basket
Example of £5 basket
We have been awarded the highest 5* rating from our food hygiene inspection. Our high standards and observation of laws surrounding the passing on of surplus foods are there to ensure everyone’s safety.
Why we can’t provide bags and why we unpack foods?
Much of the plastic packaging and bags cannot be recycled at home in our area, and due to their composition, they will take many years to break down. If we encourage everyone to bring their own bags to reuse again, this will help to reduce the amount of plastic going to landfill.
Many foods wrapped in plastic sweat and deteriorate quicker and sometimes we are tempted to buy foods prepacked because they work out cheaper per product or there are no smaller options. Both reasons can lead to more food waste.
As you may be aware, we are facing a big shift in climate change so if we all did a little bit in reducing our carbon footprint by reducing our plastic waste as well as our food and general waste too, we may help to slow this change.
Reducing our waste, reusing what we can, and recycling can be a key part of a climate change strategy to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
Are there any other benefits to this project?
Any food which is still edible is passed on to other groups in our area to share with their users.
Any food which is not fit for human consumption is passed on to local smallholders for animal/bird feed (just as it used to be years ago). This not only means even less food goes to landfill, but the progression of the food through their ‘plumbing system’ produces manure which contributes to the fertility of soil.
This means that we reduce food waste even more.
Q&A’s and responses
(please click to reveal)
Little Chefs Big Chefs CIC is a registered food business and we adhere strictly to our legal responsibilities to comply with food legislation in order to keep everyone safe.
We hope to help support our local community and would like to invite you all to be a part of this project through feedback, ideas and perhaps volunteering.
It is only through this support that we can work together to create change and a better place.
St Helen's Parish Hall, Middlewood Green, DL14 9DL
Although our Community Pantry project is currently funded, there may come a time when we have to fund this service ourselves. The income we receive from contributions help to cover initiatives such as our FREE fruit or snack bags and small purchases we have to make, but unfortunately, is not enough to cover the core costs directly associated with the pantry.
We feel that our project is vital, not only to help distribute food at the end of the supply chain to save from going to landfill (thus impacting our environment) but to help save everyone money, especially in these times of economic uncertainty.
We are therefore asking for donations to help our Community Pantry continue for the benefit of the community.
We have also opened up our project for volunteer opportunities. Please get in touch if you wish to offer support in the pantry:
Jo: 07507 666 805
Your support will be greatly appreciated.
As a non-profit organisation, ALL income is accounted for and any profit has to be rolled back into the organisation.