My name is Bébhinn Mullins, and I’m the manager of Clonmany Community Centre in Donegal. We’ve been working alongside FoodCloud since 2018, helping to place a focus on food waste. We began this project by redistributing the food donations within the community centre where our service users would be invited to bring items home when they were leaving activities or collecting their children. This allowed us to have a very equal approach. This worked really well and helped to shine a positive light on local supermarkets & our organisation whilst raising awareness around food waste, food miles and the SDG’s too.
The Covid pandemic presented a very different need in our area, and it meant that our centre doors were no longer allowed to open to the community as they had been. We had to make a new plan on how to reach out to the community for those in need and for those who still wanted to focus on reducing food waste, trying to keep our community connected but safe.
“Clonmany Community Pantry” was officially launched by the centre in March 2020. This project kicked off during the initial Covid-19 lockdown to ensure zero hunger within the community and help harness the community spirit during a very difficult time for many.
This initiative has naturally developed into a wonderful community project helping to highlight more sustainable food choices whilst helping to combat food waste. Through our connection with FoodCloud, we have collected and redistributed over 7000 kg of food (the equivalent of almost 17,000 meals) & almost 23,000 kg of CO2 savings as of the end of Feb 2022. Clonmany Community Pantry has created interest from community organisations around Ireland, and we have a wonderful volunteer Adam who attends NUIG. Adam trained in food safety while volunteering with us here during the lockdown. The suggestion was made that we introduce the pantry to the students of NUIG; he felt it would be an amazing help to students attending the university. Adam & I then brought the model of Clonmany Community Pantry to the Student Union President and Student Services within NUI Galway. Everyone loved the idea of this project. After weeks of meetings, planning and preparation, we’re delighted to announce we’re now ready to rock with the first Student Pantry in NUI Galway. The student pantry launched as a pilot on Wed Mar 2nd hopefully if it is as successful as we know it can be, we will be in a position to help more universities and community organisations around Ireland.