My Yard food deliveryImage source, My Yard
Image caption, My Yard distributes food donated by supermarkets

Today is a food delivery day. It was amazing, thanks for the curry. This week, I made some food. Is it a good idea for us all to have an outing soon?

These are the kind of messages that fly on Rachel Diamond's phone.

My Yard is a charity founded by Ms. Diamond. She set up a group for people on the Grange Farm Estate in north-west London in order to keep in touch.

Ms Diamond says that it brings the community together.

My Yard messagesImage source, My Yard
Image caption, WhatsApp groups can help people source food and build community bonds

Millions of people in the UK are experiencing food insufficiency.

Demand for food aid has gone up due to the cost of living crisis Many different forms of food aid are available. Many people are quietly organizing the sharing and redistribution of food themselves, even though they are less visible than others.

It begins with a group for friends and neighbors.

Ms Diamond found that using a messaging app allowed her to arrange deliveries of food donated by supermarkets and local businesses at the residents' convenience.

She says it was a way for people to get to know each other without being stigmatized. It's really special for me.

Rachel Diamond My YardImage source, MY YARD
Image caption, Rachel Diamond has about 20 messaging groups focused on food

She has a lot of groups that are talking about food.

She has been able to keep in contact with people who have specific preferences. Some elderly people find that the price of Spam has gone up a lot, so they have to get rid of their old tins.

She wants me to imagine freezing a supermarket in time and having a look inside every shopper's basket. It's people's lives.

She wants to provide a wide range of food that suits everyone. The need is growing. The cost of living crisis is devastating.

A van filled with food arrived on a recent delivery. She says everything went in about a minute. It used to take a long time.

New groups are springing up all the time, even though Ms Diamond has been running them for years.

The founder of Food Next Door launched a group for the residents of her block of flats to share surplus food and cut down on waste.

Camille Desprez, founder of Food Next Door (right)Image source, Food Next Door
Image caption, Camille Desprez (right) set up a group to share surplus food in her building

The thing is working well. She says that they are able to save a lot of food.

The Food Next Door project has more than 100 members and is being established in more than a dozen neighbourhoods in london and paris.

She says that people can save money on food by participating.

Zero Waste initiatives that help people in poverty are a positive side effect.

She says that people are frightened and scared about their futures.

Prof Reem Talhouk is a professor at the University of Northumbria. Sometimes the messaging app goes down for a long time. It could be significant for someone who depends on the app for aid.

Usua Juta's allotment surplusImage source, Ursula Juta
Image caption, Messaging apps can help share surplus allotment produce

Telegram is an alternative app. The volunteers of the Foodshare Allotment are in touch with Microsoft Teams. They give some of their food to food banks.

Ursula Juta, senior project officer at the Norfolk Rivers Trust, puts a basket full of surplus veg in her garden wall because she doesn't need the latest technology to cook. The produce in her village can be enjoyed for free.

Prof Talhouk is of the opinion that social media platforms can be used for scamming and harassment.

She says that they need to consider that.

Emily Connally gives a cooking classImage source, Cherwell Collective
Image caption, Emily Connally from the Cherwell Collective gives a cookery class

It's difficult to overstate the power of messaging apps. Emily Connally is the Managing Director of Cherwell Collective, a non-profit in Oxford.

She says that she can mobilize 200 people with a single text. She sometimes gets a donation of food that is close to being used and needs to be distributed quickly.

A surplus of 165 sandwiches was given to the local Pret a Manger. The people collected all the sandwiches within an hour after a message went out.

She and her colleagues give food aid to hundreds of locals. She thinks that rising food prices will get much worse.

The Cherwell Collective was started during the Pandemic. Prof Talhouk suggests that local community groups that respond to crises may need support from local authorities.

Rachel Diamond says that the impact of the groups she runs is not limited to food aid. People help each other with other issues as well. They confront loneliness.

She finds it fascinating to watch people grow in their friendship.

  • WhatsApp
  • Inflation
  • Cost of living
  • Food waste