Businesses across the country are cancelling their Christmas parties, following Government guidance to work from home as a new wave of Covid moves across the country.
While staff are disappointed, and businesses that were set to entertain staff face an uncertain few weeks, charities and food waste organisations are gearing up to ensure that as much of the food as possible does not go to waste.
The UK’s number one food sharing app OLIO, has been contacted this week by local businesses for emergency food pick-ups and distribution.
This week, it has supported Sanctus, a workplace mental health organisation based in East London. Sanctus was due to have its Christmas party on 8 December 2021, with 30 of its team set to attend the festivities, and contacted OLIO to help them rehome the food that would no longer be needed.
The wellbeing business had arranged for Hitchin-based Bite Around the World to prepare a range of south-east Asian grazing platters with individual sweet boxes for each attendee to take home with them after the party. However, when the decision to cancel the party was made it meant all the delicious and perfectly edible food was potentially going to be binned.
Kelly Harris, People & Legal Director at Sanctus said: “After careful consideration, we thought the increasing covid infection rate and new data on omicron indicated the best decision was to cancel. This recognises the fact that our team will want to see friends and family they haven’t seen for months, or may be caring for vulnerable people over the Christmas period. Although we were all really looking forward to connecting in person at the end of a very difficult year for everyone, keeping people safe and well throughout the pandemic has been our priority.”
OLIO has an army of 35,000 volunteers, known as Food Waste Heroes across the UK, who work with businesses to redistribute food that would otherwise go to waste in the community.
Sanctus contacted OLIO, who arranged for the food to be picked up the day of the intended Christmas party and the grazing plates will be distributed among the community in East London.
Tessa Clarke, co-founder of OLIO said: “In what has been a very trying period for all of us, the cancellation of Christmas parties is a bitter pill to swallow. Nobody likes seeing resources wasted or food thrown in the bin, and OLIO is available to support any businesses, food retailers, caterers or hospitality venues who need support to redistribute food in their local community.”
Since launch OLIOers have shared 35 million portions of food, which has had an environmental impact equivalent to taking 101 million car miles off the road, has saved 5.1 billion litres of water and has prevented 29k tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.
Kelly Harris at Sanctus continued: “We’re so pleased that something good has come from a sad decision and hope that, given reports that others are in a similar position this week, they’ll use OLIO to do this too. It’s been an incredibly easy process working with OLIO and we’re really glad to make a donation that will help our community.”