“….One of the many groups in north Cambridge making a difference is the Red Hen Project.
Featured in an article by Alya Zayed in the Cambridge News on 14 OCT 2019
Founded 20 years ago, this is a small local charity that works with primary school children in north Cambridge.
Their family workers support children and their families to overcome barriers to learning, providing a link between home and school.
As well as running a range of outreach group activities – such as parenting courses, coffee morning, trips, and volunteer opportunities – the charity also collects unsold food from the Milton Tesco’s and redistributes it to families in need.
Every Thursday evening, they collect anything that would have otherwise gone to waste, then they visit families on Friday morning.
Since beginning the scheme nearly two years ago, they have done 88 collections, which adds up to roughly 2,717kg of food or 6,469 meals.
This, however, depends on what they have available, since the food they get can vary.
Project lead Sarah Crick said: “Sometimes I’ll go into the office on a Friday morning and my desk is covered in fresh fruit, like hundreds of satsumas and strawberries, or other days it can be completely different, like cooking oil or doughnuts.
“It’s a real wide range of things that are just about to go out of date or stuff that’s been overordered.
“We combine it with regular donations from various sources, including staple items like tinned goods, rice, cereal, and pasta.”
The food is donated to any families who may be struggling, with the help of their schools.
For example, if the school knows that a child is struggling at home or a parent has been made redundant, they will discreetly let the charity know that the family could do with some help that week.
But despite the volumes of work that the charity does, the team is very small, with only three permanent staff members.
Though this has not stopped the charity developing more projects and schemes, such as a course for cooking with a budget.
Ms Crick added: “We’ll create a cooking club eventually, something social, not just dietary.
“Some people aren’t necessarily wracked with poverty, but they’re struggling because they don’t have any friends and family in the area.
“It can be a lifeline for some people. Some literally have nothing in the cupboards, except perhaps a bit of jam.
“It can prevent families from having to spiral into debt or borrow money from people who are going to be a problem in the future.”
Ms Crick described one very heart-warming incident that happened after a birthday cake was donated to them.
“We wondered who we should give it to,” she said.
“We took a guess and delivered it to a woman. Turns out, it was her daughter’s birthday the next day and she didn’t have the money for a cake.
“She was so happy. It broke my heart. This is why we do what we do.
“The woman who delivered it said, ‘I can’t believe that just happened. I chose exactly the right family.’ All the stars aligned!”
For the full click here