Andy’s story

How surplus food is helping homeless people in Sheffield
Try Andy’s Sheffield lasagne recipe

70% of long-term homeless people show medical signs of malnutrition. The consequences of this can be huge, such as debilitating depression or lives cut short by illness.

At Emmaus Sheffield, a residential community for homeless people, FareShare food is being used to change this narrative. We paid them a visit and met companion Andy (Emmaus residents are known as companions)  to see how for ourselves.

Andy cooking at Emmaus Sheffield, 2014, Gemma Thorpe (30)

In the kitchen with Andy

It’s 11am and Andy is slicing the surplus tomatoes and mozzarella that have just arrived in the FareShare delivery. Italian dishes are his speciality – he makes a mean lasagne, something he learnt while working in Italy – so he’s making an Insalata Caprese for lunch.  Andy’s been at Emmaus Sheffield since 2013, when ill health left him unable to work and his relationship broke down. Having lived abroad for a period he found he was unable to claim welfare and became homeless.

He’s always been an experimenter when it comes to food so is a dab hand at transforming the FareShare delivery into tasty meals for his fellow companions, many of whom are affected by malnutrition when they arrive at Emmaus.

Andy tells us “Our lives would be significantly shorter without the home cooked meals made with FareShare food every day. Life expectancy is low for homeless people, 40 to 50. That isn’t only about living in rough conditions, a lot of that is about the availability of food and the quality of that food. I’m sure every single person would agree it makes such a big difference to our lives.”

Andy cooking at Emmaus Sheffield, 2014, Gemma Thorpe (32)Andy preps tomatoes for lunch

Rebuilding self-esteem

After lunch Andy starts prepping beef joints for that evening’s dinner. Time spent cooking is about more than meals though. Emmaus believe that giving people a purpose is key to restoring their self-esteem. That’s why you’ll find Andy getting back into cooking in the kitchen and social enterprise projects happening all around the the centre, from furniture restoration to boat building.

Using surplus saved from waste by FareShare means that Emmaus Sheffield can afford to serve nutritious meals seven days a week, giving companions  the energy necessary to find a purpose and rebuild their lives.

Small Emmaus Sheffield, 2014, Gemma Thorpe (5)Meals are the time that the whole community comes together at Emmaus Sheffield

Food and homelessness

We work with hundreds of homeless organisations to not only get food to people affected by homelessness, but to provide them with fresh quality food because we know that:

  • 70% of long-term homeless people show medical symptoms of malnutrition
  • Three out of five homeless people have no daily intake of fruit or vegetables

* Source: Shelter Scotland

Photos: Gemma Thorpe

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