Real junk food project in Pudsey going strong six months in

By Anna Riley

Shoppers, cafes and schools that want a cheaper alternative to the traditional supermarket food shop have benefited from a food warehouse near Leeds that celebrates its half-year mark this month.

Last September the Real Junk Food Project opened a 6,000-square-foot warehouse in Pudsey that intercepts between two and 10 tons of food a day, which would otherwise be sent the landfill.

Volunteers at the warehouse split food and allocate it to pay as you feel cafes, schools and the Share House ‘pay as you feel’ supermarket within the warehouse.

Olive Sanderson, a volunteer at the warehouse, said: “We are really helping to save the environment from unnecessary food waste here and that’s what it is all about for me.

“We get the food here from a variety of sources including supermarkets, allotments, foodbanks, restaurants, cafes, food photographers, and events caterers.

“I mainly work on the Fuel for Schools project, where food from the warehouse is used to feed 12,000 children a week.”

Olive was also keen to stress that the Share House, which opens from Monday to Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm, is open for all and not just for unemployed and homeless people.

Geraldine Hewitt, a shopper at the Share House, said: “I come here at least once a week with my husband.

“We are both pensioners and struggle with the weekly food shop, so the Share House has been a real godsend to us.

“The pay as you feel concept means we can just give as much as we can afford.”

The Real Junk Food Project has also expanded its ‘pay as you feel’ cafe movement, with 127 cafes worldwide.

Emma Mawer, who manages the Real Junk Food café at St Margaret’s Church in Horsforth, said: “Our café opens most Mondays from ten in the morning until two and is for everyone – babies and mums, the old and the young.

“Our menu is always different, based on the food that we get given and the café has helped so many people, including children at the local primary school, as any food we have left over is sent there.

“We apply post war principles to the food we use– we don’t look at dates, if it smells ok and looks ok then food is good to eat.

“Dates can be very deceptive. We are trained in food hygiene and health and safety so can prevent the risks.”

More information on the Horsforth café can be found on its Facebook page and for further reading on the Real Junk Food Project and its aims, go to their website.

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