The Veg Box Donation Scheme started in June 2020. Since then the group have provided fresh fruit and vegetable boxes to local people suffering financial hardship across Potton, Biggleswade, Sandy and the surrounding villages. Founder Sharon Mey started up the organisation initially as a way of re-distributing surplus food grown on a local allotment. Fast forward to today and the group receives weekly donations of surplus produce from supermarkets, vegetable businesses, a school, Wimpole Hall garden, the Potton Food Garden (a community veg garden) and other growers and individuals. The cardboard boxes they use are also supplied by two local factories. During the first months of 2022 they saw client referrals increase by 40% on previous years – a sobering statistic.
Their team of 14 volunteers help with various activities including packing, delivering veg boxes and collecting donated produce during the week. In 2023 Sharon plans to register the organisation with the Charity Commission in order to fundraise for a permanent base.
Founder Sharon explains: “What we offer is unique in that we provide fresh food which supplements the traditional food bank delivery of rice, pasta and largely tinned foods. We also play a small but important part in addressing the issues we have with food waste in the UK. We are very grateful to BLCF for their funding which has secured our core operations for 12 months. Recently we have been printing recipe cards to include with our boxes to encourage recipients to use all the produce they are given”.
Grants Manager, Sarah Greene, visited to help pack festive boxes for local families facing challenging times. Sarah said “this is a group of passionate volunteers who want to ensure local families have access to not only food bank staples but also nutritious fresh fruit and vegetables. It is brilliant to see how they are tackling food waste and supporting people in their local community”. For more information about the organisation please visit Veg Box Donation Scheme (vbds.org.uk)