30 July 2019
This International Day of Friendship, we spoke to our charity partner Mike’s Table, who use surplus food as a tool for getting people from all walks of life together round a dining table to promote social interaction and give people who are finding life tough a great night out.
Mike’s Table is a London based social enterprise that runs pop-up supper clubs. The idea is simple and effective. Members of the public buy tickets for each supper club event. This in turn allows Mike’s Table to invite guests from a range of charities and organisations so they too can experience and enjoy a fine dining experience but for free.
They work with organisations such as the Carers Network, Prisoners Abroad and charities supporting refugee and homeless people as well as people with learning difficulties and addiction problems. Louise, the founder of Mike’s Table tells FareShare that loneliness and isolation are big issues for many of their guests who often live isolated lives and lack companionship, with few opportunities to socialise and make friends.
A typical Mike’s Table event sees a mixture of 30 to 60 paying and invited guests gathering for a luxurious three course meal that is loving prepared and served by Louise’s brigade of volunteer chefs and waiting team (including FareShare staff).
At Mike’s Table they cook from scratch. There isn’t a ready meal insight here! They have a saying, “less waste, great taste” which is why they use FareShare to provide them with three quarters of the food they need. FareShare supplies the fresh vegetables and meat as well as cheeses, yoghurts and cupboard staples needed to prepare a menu. Louise tells us that using FareShare makes it all possible for Mike’s Table virtually reducing the need to buy items commercially.
At Mike’s Table we are seeing how a communal eating environment is making a big difference to the quality of life of many people. One regular guest is Mary. She was referred to Mike’s Table by the charity that supports Mary with her learning disability. On her first visit to Mike’s Table Mary was withdrawn and sullen. After several visits and with the encouragement and friendship shown by the volunteers and fellow guests Mary has grown in confidence and is now helping to make fellow guests coming for the first time feel welcome. Mary has even gone so far as to replicate Mike’s Table at the day centre she attends where the kitchen staff provide her with food that she then serves to other day centre users!
FareShare loves working with Mike’s Table. They demonstrate how to bring about social good through using surplus food, which without FareShare’s and Mike’s Table’s intervention would have ended up as waste.