Hidden Hunger Campaign

Meet the OLIO volunteer: Marilyn Kendall

Meet the OLIO volunteer: Marilyn Kendall

Meet Marilyn.

She is our north London trailblazer who has been deeply engaged in a host of OLIO volunteering activities since 2016. ‘Committed’ is an understatement when it comes to Marilyn. She’s got her fingers in all sorts of pies (not literally – that would be wasteful) proactively putting on events in her community, saving surplus as a Food Waste Hero and tackling the hidden hunger that lurks in her neighbourhood. Read her inspiring story below.

What compelled you to become a volunteer?

I’m passionate about reducing food waste and the OLIO ethos is in keeping with my values.

Describe your typical OLIO-focussed day?

Each day can vary, but a typical day might be collecting as a Food Waste Hero from a café or deli, putting some of my own items up on the app or requesting items from others through OLIO. Always passing out a few OLIO postcards and talking to people who aren’t already on the app.

Why do you think food sharing is good for the community?

Neighbours get to meet other like-minded neighbours and share items that they would have otherwise binned. OLIO helps to build community and reduce waste.

How have you used OLIO to stand up to hidden hunger in your community?

I persuaded the manager of Homeless Action in Barnet to OLIO and they then requested crisps and nuts from a local Sainsbury’s food save, which got snapped up really quickly. 

We also got the manager of the Muswell Hill Trussell Trust Food bank to download OLIO and we delivered a couple cases of rescued PROPERCORN to them. Bags were placed into clients’ food parcels along with OLIO postcards. Their key volunteers are encouraging clients to download the app so that they can request food directly through OLIO.

There’s also a number of people that pick up from me who are struggling and it’s encouraging to know that the food I save is helping them out.

What tips and advice can you offer any budding volunteers?

Get started, download the app, put some items on the app, use your current network of friends, neighbours and social media contacts to build your OLIO network.

What do you want to get out of OLIO and being a volunteer?

I want to prevent so much food being wasted. For households, I’d like to get people to think about the quantity of food they’re buying and not to overbuy. For cafes and delis, I’d like them to donate their food at the end of the day instead of binning so much good, usable food.

What are your thoughts on the issue of food waste in general?

I really dislike food waste, but it’s great that there are lots of initiatives out there tackling the issue in a variety of original ways. 

Describe OLIO in 3 words?

Food waste fighters.