May 2018

Food and Nutrition student Christie does her bit for World Hunger Day

Read time: approx 1 mins

According to Oxfam, 1 in 6 parents have gone without food to afford to feed their families. Even more concerning, almost 40% of the population are just one heating bill or broken washing machine away from poverty.

Statistics like this, shared in her university module on food insecurity, inspired Food and Nutrition student Christie Newman to take action. She decided to join FoodCycle, an organisation providing meals for the local community made from surplus food donated by businesses such as Tesco and ASDA. Little did she know, the skills and knowledge gained on her course would make her a vital part of the organisation from the very beginning. Paired with a lot of hard work, Christie quickly became a FoodCycle project leader, overseeing much of the work carried out by the charity’s centre in Aston.

“I was incredibly shocked when I learned about the true extent of food waste and food poverty across the UK in one of my second-year modules,” said Christie.

“Joining FoodCycle made me realise there are hundreds of ways to help – especially for someone studying food and nutrition. The knowledge I gained on my course meant I was able to feed 50 people for just £40. I project manage a team and work with businesses across Birmingham to give people a hot meal every Sunday.”

Unlike several other charities in the local area, which are also in desperate need of more help and resources, that hand out food parcels or cold food from cafés and supermarkets, FoodCycle opens from 1:30 to 3:30pm to serve vulnerable people living in and around Aston a hot, three-course meal. For many guests, it will be the first hot meal they have had in days. And there is always more to be done.

“We are always on the lookout for more volunteers,” says Christie. “FoodCycle welcomes anyone to volunteer. The experience allows you to build skills in project management, budgeting and campaigning that will help you for life.

“UCB’s Food and Nutrition students are already in an amazing position when it comes to employability, but with major government initiatives being developed to tackle food poverty and insecurity in the UK right now, volunteering somewhere like Foodcycle could make them into a top candidate for an even wider range of jobs.”

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