Food Drop app links up Hackney charities with grub that would otherwise be binned

The Food Drop team: Thanu Varatharajan (left), Miranda Khamis and Everest Ekong.

The Food Drop team: Thanu Varatharajan (left), Miranda Khamis and Everest Ekong. - Credit: food drop

A start-up tech company which links unsold food from high street retailers to charities nearby has launched in Hackney.

The Food Drop app was set up to create a network of volunteers, who are given directions from where to pick up any surplus food from companies like Pret a Manger - which would otherwise have been binned - and where to drop it off.

Co-founders Miranda Khamis and Everest Ekong piloted the app in Bath three years ago. Several hundred volunteers signed up within a few months, and now the team has brought the concept to east London from their HQ at We Work in Bishopsgate.

Charities that have already signed up include The Crib youth club, homelessness charity St Mungos and youth media organisation The Mouth That Roars.

Miranda, 23, told the Gazette: "We started it as a passion project because we wanted to do something to give back in our third year at uni. In all honesty we hadn't done anything up until then that was volunteering to give back.

"Research shows food distribution retailers want to support the community, and charities are really in need but both parties are really busy and charities are understaffed, so we are filling a specific gap if the general public gets involved.

"We found students liked what we were doing, because it was an easy way to volunteer and give 30 minutes in the evening."

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Miranda, a psychology and business graduate, added: "We match supply to demand, so we know how much retailers have and how much charities need, and the app makes it easy for charities to pick up food and anyone else to lend a helping hand.

"We are a brand-to-brand business and we charge the food retailers a small amount and give them data on their social impact, so they can see the amount of food they've distributed and where it has gone to."

They have already got 130 volunteers signed up in east London, and are soon hoping to take Food Drop Londonwide and then nationwide.

"Because we focus on food that's already prepared it's better for charities with small kitchens or no kitchens so all they need to do is hand food out," said Miranda.

"It benefits the micro charities that have a massive impact in our communities."

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