In this local food column, the Lancaster People’s Café gives us an update on their progress so far.
“Lancaster People’s Cafe has now served delicious and nutritious food in a variety of settings: from a place of worship to pubs, community centres and a converted mill. The food has been cooked by volunteers and served to, well, everyone who has turned up.
“And people did turn up. Sometimes they came because they knew the food was intercepted and was being saved from the ever-growing blight of landfill.
“Sometimes they came because they knew there would be a vegan and a gluten free option as standard. And some people came because they like really good food and knew there would be plenty of that.
“Our promise that children would be welcomed, catered for and appreciated also brought some people and the Pay as You Feel ethos attracted others.
“We have trialed a pay-as-you-feel shop, hosted a clothes swap and raised funds for the City of Sanctuary project and the wonderful Marsh Community Centre.
“We have learned something from every cafe and we loved them all.
“We are often asked some great questions at the cafes. For example: What happens to the money put in the boxes?
“The food is intercepted but not free. We have to pay Fare Share for our order because they have costs too.
“We also have to pay for fuel to collect the food, to pay for training for our volunteers, and to pay for equipment and additional ingredients to improve the (often basic) intercepted ingredients.
“All of our staff are volunteers but we still have costs.
“What does ‘Pay as You Feel’ mean? It means everyone is included and no one goes without food just because of money. Our collection boxes ask people with money worries not to pay, and we mean this.
“We equally ask people who can afford it to donate what they would normally spend in a cafe for their meal.
“If members of our cafe community can afford more, they are welcome to pay more too. We are a community and every single person who comes to eat with us is equal.
“Can I volunteer? Yes, we will take you exactly as you are right now. We can provide training if you need it, feed you, appreciate you and welcome your input.
“We welcome all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Whoever you are we can use you and you have something to offer.
“You can find out about future Lancaster People’s Cafe events on Facebook.
“Your reservation is already made!”