The Proco Group take part in a Proco+ Day every quarter, aiming to promote positive outcomes across the business through four themes: learning, wellbeing, giving back, and culture. For this quarter, we focused on the theme of giving back. As such, Proco Brighton volunteered with The Real Junk Food Project.
Following the motto of “feed bellies, not bins”, The Real Junk Food Project have an overarching aim to prevent food waste and provide food for the people who cannot afford it otherwise. With an estimation of around 2 million malnourished people, and up to 15 million tonnes of food waste annually in the UK alone, The Real Junk Food Project has been working to address the issues surrounding make food more readily available, whilst decreasing the amount of food waste produced.
Since its inception 6 years ago, The Real Junk Food Project have saved upwards of 4.5 million kilograms of food, and fed nearly 11 million people, developing into a global network of 120 different projects within 7 countries.
Aside from the incredible cause itself, part of the decision to choose this project in particular is partially down to the easy accessibility, only being a few minutes walk from the office. Oftentimes on a Friday lunchtime, we have seen large queues coming out of the church – it is estimated that around 150-200 people are fed in the Brighton cafe on a Friday.
By helping to support our local businesses and organisations, we are able to “make huge impacts in comparison to donating to larger charities. If all companies helped to support local organisations, a real difference can be made in that area”, according to our Facilities and Administration Executive, Kate Johnson.
Our tasks at The Real Junk Food Project included: assisting with setting up and laying the table, bringing up cutlery and plates from the kitchen to the dining area, dishing up the food and talking to the people who were dining, packing away and washing up the used equipment.
The team at Proco Brighton really enjoyed our time volunteering at the project. The positive environment was infectious. Being able to take time away from the office environment and talk to the people that we were serving was also a plus. From an internal standpoint, it was also nice to be able to spend time with our colleagues outside of the workplace, especially for such an amazing cause.
From volunteering at The Real Junk Food Project, each member has gained a new perspective on things like how much food that we often waste and taking the surplus for granted. Kate recognised that “a small amount of our time can make a big difference for people less fortunate. I was surprised at how busy it was, and how much food was served!”
It can also be difficult to find time to volunteer and assist in the local community. But our Group Purchase Ledger Executive, Maria Palmiero, finds that “Finding a way to help is easier than I thought, and doesn’t require that much planning if we haven’t got much time”.
The main bulk of the workforce comes from volunteers, but there are many other ways in which you can help – from giving financial donations to spreading awareness about the cause. There are many cafes that are operated by The Real Junk Food Project around the UK, and internationally, which is ideal for anyone that wishes to help the charity out. If you’re interested, visit https://trjfp.com for more information.
Watch this space to see what Proco organises for next quarter’s Proco+ Day for the theme of wellbeing!