Working at the Food Hub

Local volunteer Kai Steemers has been helping out at the food hub, and he has written about it. If you’re working to support Trumpington residents then please tell us and we will publish it here.

Across the country record numbers of people are using food banks as existing social security measures are put under strain during the current Covid-19 pandemic. This is a trend that is set to continue despite lockdown restrictions being lifted, as we deal with the longer lasting economic impacts of the virus.

Like many other areas in the UK, there is a need in Trumpington for services that help to alleviate food poverty during this time. 

This is where Trumpington Community Food Hub comes in.

Trumpington Community Food Hub is an initiative run by local volunteers that ensures “good quality surplus food fills hungry stomachs rather than bins”. Acting as both a waste reduction, food distribution and community building enterprise, food is collected through donations from local allotments, supermarkets, shops and the generosity of the people of Trumpington and the surrounding areas. The food is then set up for display before noon, with fresh produce on one side of Trumpington Pavilion and non-perishable goods for those who need it on the other side.

As people steadily start to stream into the pavilion, the positivity and passion of volunteers manning the stalls is there for all to see, despite being masked up for safety purposes. There is a concerted effort to engage with people about food, vegetables in particular, that shows the value in viewing food as being beyond merely a source of sustenance. Every time the food hub opens there is something different that has been brought in to get excited about. This week, among other things, cavolo nero, fennel and cherry tomatoes stand out amongst the crowd of vegetables. Next week it could be something that you’ve brought!

Stories from the food hub exemplify the power we have as a community to support one another. From a lady who wheels along an enormous suitcase to collect food for her elderly neighbours, to the young boy who collects for his mother who recently gave birth, Trumpington Community Food Hub demonstrates the willingness to help one another out and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. As one volunteer put it “it’s exciting to be involved in reducing food waste, serve the community and promote sustainability!”.

For some, the food hub provides a bridging service between the monthly payments of universal credit so that people are able to pay their bills while continuing to put food on the table. Furthermore, unlike traditional food banks, the food hub does not require referrals and so for those with no recourse to public funds for whatever reason, the food hub is able to provide immediate support with food and toiletries. This open-to-all service means that no one in our community is excluded from having access.

As the food hub shut up for the day and the tables and chairs were packed away, it felt comforting to know that as a community we had each other’s back. That we were able to reduce food waste and share conversations with one another was a huge bonus. Food waste and food poverty are two massive global problems that should in theory cancel one another out. However, this requires action and one of the best places to start is by taking responsibility for our own community here in Trumpington, through organised community initiatives like Trumpington Community Food Hub.