Monday, June 06, 2016

The best laid plans ...

Freyja and I arrived at Regather as planned at half past ten or so, ready to help paint the Pot Luck Pantry.  There were three of us, with another couple of volunteers due a bit later. I was planning to stay for an hour or so.  I had other things I could usefully be doing and we were expecting Tabitha, Gareth, Cally and Flynn later in the afternoon.  But if everyone who could did an hour or so, it wasn't going to take all that long to paint what was effectively just one room.

Ready for decorating

Where shall we start

Then Rene arrived from collecting the morning's pick up from one of the supermarket delivery franchises.

"Change of plan," he said. "There's a bit of a crisis. The delivery franchise has had a fridge failure and all of this morning's deliveries are coming here. There are about 200 crates.  I've brought about 50 on this run!"


No painting for us, then.

The first haul.  There's LOTS more to come
Freyja, Johnny and I stopped what we were doing, made room for the crates and set about helping Rene to bring the crates in from the van.  Alas, as I was bounding up the ramp into the cafe with a crate, I felt my calf muscle go ;-(  I have once before, about 15 years ago, torn that calf muscle in about that place.  I definitely didn't want to do that again, so I stopped hauling crates about and began, in a limping sort of a way, sorting through what had come in.

Rene went off back to the delivery place to pick up the next lot.  Freyja sent out an SOS to the Real Junk Food Sheffield volunteers. "Please come and help if you can.  Bring cool bags and shopping bags. Please take home anything that you think you can use. "

Johnny and I, then with Freyja made solid progress with sorting out the crates.

More volunteers turned ups.  More crates turned up.  Passers by stopped to see what we were doing.  We were surrounded by meat and fruit and vegetables and milk and cheese and cleaning products and fruit juice and toilet paper and bread and pet food and absolutely all the things that people order in their online supermarket shopping.

More volunteers have turned up

But so have lots more crates
It's really quite disturbing to think that, were it not for the existence of the Real Junk Food Project and other organisations very like it, absolutely all of this would have been taken to landfill, even the things that didn't need to be refrigerated.  It is  considerably cheaper to junk it all and start again than it is to sort through all the deliveries and take out the perishable goods and deliver replacements separately, later.  As it was, the volunteers sorted through it all, weighed it all, took what they felt they could use - and then put the rest out for passers by to pick up and take for their own use.  They were invited to pay what they felt the "shopping" was worth, or what they could afford to pay for it.  It's not free food (the Project has expenses to cover) but it can certainly be cheap food.

I went home at about 1:45.  My back was beginning to protest and my pulled calf muscle was definitely not happy
This is how it looked when I left

Other volunteers, and Freyja, stayed on until the early evening.  By 6pm they had shifted everything but this

Freyja's photo

and taken a little over £550 in Pay as you Feel contributions.

The pick up from the delivery company on Sunday wasn't anything as humungous as Saturday's.  A mere one van full.  More than you would be expecting, though.  There are usually just a handful of crates to deal with, not van loads!

The cafe still isn't painted, alas.

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