Two charities and a voluntary group worked together to spread the love ahead of Valentine’s Day this, by giving 50 homeless people in Newcastle a surprise luxury grazing box.
Tin On A Wall North Tyneside and Cedarwood Trust, based in North Shields, are working to tackle food poverty across the region.
Tin On A Wall organises huge monthly street collections of donated food, which is then used by organisations like Cedarwood Trust, based on the Meadow Well Estate, in a variety of ways.
This includes transforming donations into free, fresh meals to feed the vulnerable; supplying its Nourish Bistro with ingredients; and providing supplies for its Nourish Store – a revolutionary Food Membership Scheme where its 700 members pay £4 a week for £15 worth of shopping.
Spreading the love on Valentine’s Day
But this weekend Tin On A Wall, Cedarwood Trust, and homeless charity StreetWorx combined forces to spread the love in a different way – they gave out free grazing boxes to the homeless in Newcastle, filled with freshly-made sandwiches, scones and cakes, as well as grapes, cookies and strawberries.
Joanne Scorer, who runs Tin On A Wall, said:
““I give out food every week and this ranges from surplus stock to me buying things and making in my kitchen at home, but I wanted to do something different for Valentine’s Day for our homeless friends, which I met through volunteering with StreetWorx.
“I used my contacts to help us put something very special together for Valentine’s Day and all the hard work was worth it when we rocked up with grazing boxes!
“The people we handed them out to were absolutely blown away. One man when I opened the box pointed at one item and said ‘I’ll have that thing there please’, I had to explain that it was all for him! He just couldn’t believe it. He was so happy.
“I’m already starting to think about my next treat box for Easter.”
In her free time, Joanne volunteers with Streetworx to help the homeless in Newcastle City Centre, giving out hot drinks, as well as warm clothing, socks, gloves, shoes, sleeping bags and blankets
For her Valentine’s Day boxes, she enlisted several of her Tin On A Wall volunteers to help prepare and bake cakes, while Cedarwood Trust chefs created the scones and sandwiches, and North Shields grocer ‘Barry’s Eggs and Veg’ provided fresh fruit for free.
Tin on a Wall was set up in July 2020, and has since helped provide Cedarwood Trust with over 23 tonnes worth of food which has gone back into the community. Cedarwood is one of half a dozen charities Tin On A Wall supports every month.
Wayne Dobson, CEO of Cedarwood Trust, said: “Our charity is all about tackling food poverty. Over the past few years we have helped make a real difference to the lives of people who are struggling to feed themselves and their families, and we couldn’t do that without partners like Tin On A Wall.
“When Joanne told us what she planned to do for Valentine’s Day, we jumped at the chance to be part of it. We have a team of highly skilled chefs who were able to help create a very special, tasty surprise for people who maybe don’t often feel very loved – hopefully today they are feeling like they are loved.
“Most of the ingredients we used would otherwise have been sent to landfill, which goes to show there is enough food to go round for everyone – it is just about making sure those that need feeding, get fed.
“For those that are facing a tough time feeding themselves – which is more people than ever in the current economic climate – organisations like Tin On A Wall and Cedarwood Trust are here for them.”
In the past year alone, the Cedarwood Trust has used 21.5 tonnes of donated food to make into meals and to sell in its Nourish Store.
It has also helped around 160 people gain care and culinary-related qualifications. Some of these trainees have prepared, and continue to prepare, meals that go out into the community, and also cook for the charity’s Nourish Bistro.
For more information on Cedarwood Trust, head to www.cedarwoodtrust.com or search Cedarwood Trust on social media.
If you would like to help by volunteering at Cedarwood Trust or would like to donate food, please contact call 0330 094 8454 or email [email protected].
For more information on Tin On A Wall, head to www.tinonawall.co.uk.
For more information on Streetworx, head to https://www.destinystreetworx.co.uk/.