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Swansea Creative Focus Advent Calendar
Day Seventeen: 17/12/2019

Statistics can be misleading, but not always. Some numbers paint a clear picture, and not a pretty one. 15 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry in Britain each year. This supply chain runs from farmers to manufacturers and processors to wholesalers, retailers and food service outlets. 15 million tonnes of food doesn’t complete the journey from farm to fork. It spoils and takes a detour to the bin. Worse, 250,000 tonnes of that wasted food is still edible when we bin it. That’s the equivalent of 650 million meals.

This would be frustrating enough if no one was going hungry, but the reality is that too many people simply don’t have enough to eat. Swansea, for all its accomplishment and optimism, isn’t immune from the problem. In this city there are working parents struggling to feed their children and people on the fringes of the job market struggling to find their feet. We all have good days and bad days, but when your bad days leave you with nothing to eat, what comes next?

At Matthew’s House they believe what comes next is support. In the three and a half years since The Hill Church purchased the building previously known as St Matthew’s Community Centre on Swansea High Street, Matthew’s House has become a place of welcome. Dignity packs, comprising toiletries and sanitary items, are given free to those in need – over 800 in the four months since August 2019 – and the flagship project, Matt’s Café, is open on three days each week. Part of The Real Junk Food Project, Matt’s Café intercepts food waste and uses it to create delicious, nourishing meals. Guests aren’t given a price list; the café operates on a “pay as you feel” basis. Donations from the local community complement the selfless work of project mangers and volunteers, and the result is that between 6.30pm and 9pm each Sunday and between 10am and 3pm each Monday and Tuesday, those who may be struggling have a place to go for the sustenance of a hot meal and the dignity of a warm welcome.

We find waste unacceptable, whether it’s the waste of food or the waste of human potential. So when we see an organisation tackling both, we believe it’s something to celebrate. If you’d like to donate or volunteer at Matthew’s House, your contribution will be valued. Like everyone else who sets foot in the building, you’ll be made to feel welcome.

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