A furloughed airline captain in Perth has shared his delight that his voluntary work has helped a community Food Share initiative take off in its first year.
Richard Whitaker has volunteered at the South Perth Community Food Share since January after being furloughed in March last year from his job working for a major holiday airline.
While not being at work, the 57-year-old decided he wanted to put his days to good use and help out in the community.
So far, his efforts have helped save over five tonnes of food going to waste.
As the Food Share approaches its first anniversary on Saturday, the team of volunteers are celebrating its success.
‘We are open to everyone’
Richard lives near the Food Share, based at the Moncrieffe Community Centre. When passing one day, he noticed a sign on the door asking for volunteers and decided to get involved.
“I had been at home going crazy with nothing to do,” he said. “It is nice to get out and about in the community and helping people.”
As well as supporting the community, Richard says his volunteering work has a welcome social side.
“I will be out walking the dog and I will see three or four people I know who are connected to the Food Share.
“The whole aspect of helping out is very social. We are not a foodbank so we are open to everyone so there is quite a wide range of people who come in.”
Richard was equally delighted to have helped save so much food from going to landfill.
He added: “It feels great. I hate wasting food so this suits me really well.”
The Food Share will celebrate its first anniversary on Saturday and is inviting local people to go along for cake between noon and 1pm.
Liz Barrett was the driving force behind its set-up last year and is delighted about the difference it is already making.
She said: “We started last year based on Food Shares supported by Letham4All in other parts of the city.
“We aim to reduce food waste, and offer food and other items at low or no cost to the local community in Moncrieffe, Friarton and Craigie.
“To celebrate our birthday, we’d love to show more people what we are doing.”
She added: “The best thing for us is the lovely comments from customers about the difference that we are making, to them and to our planet.”
A year of success
The South Perth Community Food Share has seen huge successes in its first year in addition to saving food from landfill.
In its first two months, it was inundated with offers of support from members of the community, with more than 100 people signing up to help.
It has also have more than 1,700 visits from locals who needed additional support or wanted to help prevent food waste.
The Food Share is open to everyone on Thursdays and Saturdays between 11am and 1pm.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering can contact Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 01738 571527.