Here two of the FOOD Club team talk about their time working at a range of Midlands FOOD Clubs:
“Personally I am not that adventurous with new foods, but working here has helped me to become braver in my food choices. I love working here. I had one lady who said that, with the money she saved on her shopping bill, she could afford to take the children out for some day trips in the summer holidays. FOOD Club not only helps people out with their food shop, it helps the whole family in many other ways – alongside reducing food wastage.
We do get some unusual foods here. We have even created a page on Facebook to celebrate unusual foods and we have posted on there some of the foods we have at FOOD Club, including rainbow chard, pak choi, and purple broccoli. We love giving inspiration to people in terms of what to do with the foods in their food box.
It is so rewarding working here. I love helping other people. I quite often hear comments such as, ‘you put a smile on my face’ – or we hear about the children who are waiting at the front door to see what is in the food box. Children say it’s like Christmas Day when the food box comes in the house!
At Christmas time, my tip to people here would be to wait until after the FOOD Club visit to do the Christmas food shop, as there are bound to be lots of vegetables included in the pack – we don’t want you overspending unnecessarily.
I want to change the way people see FOOD Club – importantly, anyone can join so long as you live close to the club! People can be quite nervous when they first come here, but they soon get into it. We know everyone’s name here now and always give everyone a warm welcome.”
“I have been working at FOOD Club since February this year, and it’s one of the best things I have ever done. I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces. I love that people are always bringing in photos of what they have made with their ingredients. One lady even brought us in a blueberry and coconut pie that she made with the ingredients from the club. We always hear stories about the children being really excited when the FOOD box comes home. Some people really rely on our service, it helps them out massively. It makes so many people happy.
We also have one family whose son wants to be a chef. He loves Friday FOOD Club day as he likes creating new recipes with the ingredients. He has made wonderful food with our ingredients such as cookies, stir fries and curries.
I think having this service helps families in many ways. It encourages families to not only eat a meal together, but to also cook together and plan meals together – it gets the whole family involved.
The food here can often be unusual, and perhaps not always the food that people would eat or pick up in the supermarket. I feel like we introduce new foods to people, and they get to eat foods that they wouldn’t normally choose. We have had so many unusual foods – jellied eels, whole mackerel, celeriac, fennel, legs of lamb. Did you know celeriac is lovely in a vegetable soup? Our customers here particularly love the fresh fish.
I love cooking myself. I’m a proper foodie! I am food mad! I cook from scratch all the time. I am always full of ideas for the customers here when they don’t know what to do with some of our more unusual ingredients. For example, one week we had loads of tomatoes and we also had fresh basil so I suggested that people make tomato and basil soup. My husband is even more keen on cooking – he loves to put his music on and get cooking.”