Wearside mum was left 'shaking' with joy and astonishment after award nomination

A campaigning mum – who helps to feed the hungry by diverting perfectly good food from waste – was stunned to be nominated for an award.

Sunday, 16th February 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Sunday, 16th February 2020, 8:00 am
Michelle Wemyss who runs the People's Pantry NE.

The people who nominated Michelle Wemyss for a Best of Wearside trophy say she deserves all the praise, especially for the way she ‘works tirelessly’ to help others.

It was a year ago this month that Michelle began forming the Washington-based People’s Pantry project.

It is driven by her own experiences as a single mum-of-four struggling to get by.

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The aim of The Peoples Pantry NE is to save as much food as possible which would otherwise be sent to landfill even though that food is still perfectly fresh and edible, but was subject to ‘best before’ dates.

Held at Columbia Community Centre and Washington Mind in her home town, she has achieved some amazing statistics in the first year of the Peoples Pantry which is a Community Interest Company.

She has:

Done 111 store visits and collected 3874 kg of food. Collected enough food to make 9,223 meals. Provided help for around 4,000 families. Saved the equivalent of 12,396 kg of CO2.

But despite all of her achievements, Michelle was still astonished to be nominated in the Community Champion category of this year’s Best of Wearside Awards.

She said: “I am shaking. It is a bit overwhelming but it is just lovely that the work I am doing is getting recognised.

“I am just one little person in a big industry so it is lovely that someone has nominated me.”

The nomination for Michelle said: “Michelle works tirelessly collecting from major supermarkets 5 days a week, working around her 4 children as a single parent, which can see her work 12 hours per day.

“Put simply The Peoples Pantry NE saves food, and feeds families.”

The nomination added: “Michelle is no stranger to this food waste crisis as her previous role as a director for a similar enterprise allowed her to revolutionise the way communities made use of ' use by' dates or 'wonky' veg that was destined for landfill. She went on to make it her own mission to stop as much of this food landing in the bins as possible.”

Michelle joins an incredible list of Best of Wearside nominations so far but we want more.

This year’s competition has backing from headline sponsor BGL, partner sponsors Utility Alliance and Gentoo, and category sponsors Marelli and Wearside Audi.

Now comes your turn to get involved by nominating by March 2.

Just send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable.

And remember to include the category that you are putting your nominated cause into.

Also, make sure you send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).

There are three ways to nominate.

l Post to Lynn Wild, North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), Wearfield Enterprise Park East, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR5 2TA.

l Visit https://www.bestofwearside.co.uk.