Peeling, pouring, prepping, and packing 🥘

EcoSend's CSR day at The Felix Project!

25 Jan 2024

2023 saw a record number of people in the UK resorting to Food Banks in order to mitigate food poverty.

Last year also saw the number of UK children in food poverty nearly double to almost 4 million.

Yet an equally disturbing figure, is that the UK also throws away 9.52 million tonnes of food per year.

Just one of these would be bad enough, yet it's mind-boggling that these two, equally depressing statistics, can exist at the same time!

Fortunately, there's organisations like The Felix Project doing everything they can to tackle the twin evils of Food Waste and Food Poverty.

Established in 2016, The Felix Project manage an ingenious system of collecting quality, surplus food from the food industry - rescuing it from ending up as waste. This includes fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and baked goods. The Felix Project collects and receives food from over 500 suppliers, such as major supermarkets, wholesalers, and local London restaurants.

The food is then sorted, prepped, and delivered as packaged meals to close to 1,000 charities, food programs, and primary schools to help tackle London's food poverty crisis.

Why Felix? The charity was founded by Justin Byam Shaw, a media entrepreneur. Justin's son Felix, died tragically in 2014 due to meningitis. The Felix Project commemorates Felix, and his compassion for those suffering from food poverty.

And so as part of our monthly CSR initiatives, the EcoSend London team were delighted to spend an afternoon helping out at The Felix Project's East London depot.

We arrived promptly at 12.30 and were given a full introduction and safety briefing by The Felix Project staff. Joined by volunteers from other companies, we split into two teams - one working in the Warehouse, one in the Kitchen.

The EcoSend team were 'hungry' for their first food prepping opportunity, so we jumped at the chance to join the kitchen team.

We were immediately donned with high-vis jackets, name tags, and very alluring blue hair-nets...

The Kitchen team headed off for the kitchen area, dodging all the forklift trucks dashing around the Warehouse forecourt and loading pallet upon pallet of meals into lorries for The Felix Project's distribution for the day.

Greeted by our Kitchen managers, we were given further instructions on food safety & handling, before heading over to our kitchen stations to prep the first meals of the shift - casserole and rice!

The Felix Project is a military-grade operation, running complex processes incredibly smoothly - so we wanted to do our best not to mess things up!

At our kitchen stations, James took rice, I took casserole, and JT took lid-packing and stacking.

It sounds simple, but optimal food-prepping is no easy task! Being the tech-brains that we are, we quickly devised efficiencies to make our meal prepping as rapid as possible.

We realised that packing the rice on the left hand side of the box, made it easier to ladle-in the casserole from the right hand side, and shaved off a few seconds each round of meal package!

JT also devised a clever system of two-sided lid packing, meaning our crates of prepped meals were quickly stacking up.

There were some bloopers, of course, as we ramped up production.

Such as yours truly flipping over a packaged meal straight onto the table, and nearly(!) dropping a full container of rice…

Over the next four hours we prepped a nutritious range of meals, including:

  • Chicken, spinach, and rice

  • BBQ beans, potatoes, and chicken wings

  • Chickpea curry and rice

Chicken wings easily presented the toughest challenge. Packing four to five wings into meal boxes is somewhat like a game of Tetris.

Made all the more harder when a certain member of the team (ahem, James) kept over-packing the spinach…

We also peeled and chopped what felt like tonnes of sweet potatoes and red peppers. Thankfully no fingers were peeled or chopped in the process.

But we didn't avoid one blooper… Which involved accidentally adding chilli to the red-pepper pile…

The work was tiring, but incredibly fun! In between each round of meal prep we cleared, cleaned, and disinfected the tables; making sure the areas were ready each time for the next meals.

By 5pm we were exhausted, but delighted. Most of our body-parts were aching, especially our fingers (who knew fluffing rice could be so painful!), but we were thrilled to have been able to contribute a little bit to the great work this organisation does.

The result of the day? 1,600 meals repurposed from surplus food and redistributed to people in need 🎉

For a few more stats on The Felix Project's work, in 2023 the organisation:

  • Saved 13,394 tonnes of food from 322 different suppliers

  • Redistributed the equivalent of 32 million meals

  • Welcome over 15,000 volunteers who committed up 150,000 hours of their time to help sort, prepare and deliver the produce.

If you're stuck for ideas for your next team outing or social, I'd highly recommend getting in touch with The Felix Project to arrange a volunteer shift. Do good and feel good! Check out their volunteer page here: https://thefelixproject.org/help-us/volunteer-london

Thanks for reading!

Chris

About the author

Chris Walkling

Chris Walkling

Customer Success

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The email marketing platform for better business

Win new customers, send better email, and make the planet better with every campaign.

  • Free Email Templates

  • Smart Segmentation

  • Lead Forms

  • Automated Campaigns

  • Automatic Offsetting

  • Team Sharing

  • HTML Email Editor

  • Multi-channel Campaigns

  • Drip Campaigns

  • MailChimp Import

  • Zapier Integration

  • Powerful API