I'm asked if I'm selling ice creams!
6.30am – I’m up early for yoga. It has really helped me regain strength after a slow recovery from Covid earlier this year.
7.30am – It’s Wednesday so I load up the e-Cargo bike (see photo) with fresh M&S food delivered via the charity Neighbourly, and I cycle up to nearby Boulton Academy to set up the weekly pantry. Along the way I get stopped
to ask if I’m selling ice creams!
I meet up with the three volunteers who run the sessions. About 25 local families facing food insecurity use the pantry – they pay between £2-4 a visit but can choose one grocery item marked with a heart (valued over £1) and 14 items marked with diamonds (under £1).
11am – Cycle back to Foundry school with any leftover fresh food for their pantry session. Volunteer Ruth organises the whole thing. She is a local mum who knows all about the challenges facing local families. She has tons of talent and drive and great creative ideas.
500 families use the food pantries we run
2pm – It’s the weekly Community Garden session on the school field run by the Warm Earth charity. Warm Earth are patenting a process which transforms heat from compost into electricity which in turn heats five polytunnel
beds so food can be grown all year round.
Some volunteers have come to help.
One lady has a magic handbag from which
she produces vegetable seeds and even some
3pm – I help Anji from the Newbigin Trust to walk the alpacas who live on the school field. Newbigin are our fantastic local partners. We love working with them.
3.30pm – Ruth and I drive over to Oasis Academy Woodview where we are helping the school set up a pantry. We’ve helped them source food from M&S, Tesco and Fareshare and from Incredible Surplus, a local Birmingham
About 500 families have used the three pantries we run. Many pantry users have started volunteering with us. One of our members says it’s the only place he gets out to each week.
People who want to help each other
5pm – back in my office for paperwork. This area, Winston Green, is a vibrant community with people who want to get involved and help each other out. However, it has a poor reputation. Many families who are newly-arrived in the city are placed here temporarily. One
volunteer told me she thought her life was over when she was placed in Winston Green. Now she says that’s not true, there is a real community of people who want to help each other.
5.30pm – post a photo on our Facebook before I
leave. It’s Kadeeja on our e-Cargo bike. She had
never ridden a bike before – her children took photos. It’s the seemingly small things that give every one of us a sense of achievement and confidence to face the next challenge life throws at us!
6.50pm – Runners from Goodgym are joining us
for a litter pick on the local park and school
field. They have been volunteering with us
for about 4 years now. A group run from Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter once a month, help us with a project and then run back again.