FoodCycle, based at Langworthy Cornerstone, is appealing for more supermarkets to donate surplus supplies for its free weekly community meal.
The group has a weekly food collection from Salford shopping centre to collect ingredients to cook up free meals for anyone in the city going hungry or wanting a change from eating alone.
FoodCycle serves free meals to communities across the UK using surplus food to reduce the amount of food waste in the country.
Salford’s weekly meal, served at Langworthy Cornerstone, attracts a range of diners including families, by offering them space to socialise and enjoy a free three-course dinner.
Whether people are struggling with money or are lonely and would enjoy some company, the free community meal caters for many.
Stephanie Parkin, who volunteers at FoodCycle, explains how she picks up food from Lidl and Aldi every Tuesday before the meal. She said: “Today we are going to pick up food from a couple of local supermarkets that we just do for this Langworthy centre.”
Lidl and Aldi are currently the only supermarkets in the area who support FoodCycle, the group are hoping for more to join in the future.
Mrs Parkin explained: “Personally I just do it once a week, but I know there are sessions at different centres several times a week.
“People are needed everyday and every evening as well.”
She said that the food available depends on the time of year, “sometimes I’m lucky and there’s a massive bumper box of things to rifle through, other times there’s a tiny shopping basket with a few broken eggs”.
FoodCycle keep a stock cupboard of dried food such as pasta and tinned tomatoes if there is a shortage of food in the supermarkets. Products such as fresh meat, milk and other diary products are not suitable as they need refrigerating.
This means that the community meal is suitable for vegetarians as the meals are meat-free.
Parkin also explained: “Whole vegetables, packets of dried goods like rice and tins of things are perfect because they can be stored at room temperature.”
When searching through donated food at the supermarkets, Stephanie spoke about what to look out for.
If an item is mouldy, for example a single lemon, but the other fruits in the pack are not then they are fine to use.
There were many packs of pasta that had split, meaning Lidl could no longer sell them, however they were suitable to use as long as the product was not contaminated.
From the food pick up today, there were many packs of spaghetti along with spring onions and tomatoes, meaning some sort of pasta dish could be made.
As for dessert, there were lots of lemons that can be used to make a lemon pie.
FoodCycle is held every Tuesday at Langworthy Cornerstone on Liverpool Street, M6 5QQ, at 6pm.