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Food Collection by Mark Harvey

1 August 2020

This image is a collage of the donated food that I have picked up from Sheffield greengrocers Beanies, which was then delivered to two local Sheffield charities – The Archer Project and The Food Hall Project – throughout the UK lockdown.

Initially I set out to document the process, but looking at the images together, I felt that it represents not only a diary of what I did during the crisis, but draws attention to food poverty and what can be done with food that can't be sold.

I am a professional photographer, whose normal work is corporate portraits and conferences; understandably my work mostly stopped when the UK went into lockdown. It gave me the chance to use that time to produce social media content for a local charity supporting vulnerable people and has helped raise over £50K in donations.

For the past five years I have been volunteering for The Archer Project, a Sheffield charity that supports those at risk of homelessness or who are experiencing homelessness. I’ve been running photography sessions for people who use their facilities, as well as providing images for the charity to use for their marketing. I also have connections with The Food Hall Project, a volunteer-powered community space and kitchen, which offers pay-as-you-feel dining.

Having been a customer with Beanies for at least 30 years, I’ve got to know the staff there really well and they know about my involvement with both charities. At the beginning of lockdown they asked if The Archer Project and The Food Hall would be interested in receiving their unsellable stock. I offered to pick up the excess food from Beanies and deliver it to the two charities. In doing so, it meant that the Archer Project and The Food Hall were able to provide professionally-cooked meals or include packs of fresh fruit and vegetables for those in need.

From my work with the charities, I learnt about the effect that the lockdown was having on vulnerable people in the city. Many hadn't eaten for days at the start of the lockdown and later on some hadn't had a hot meal for weeks as more people started to come into the city centre. At the start of the pandemic the only two places open to get food was Archer and the FoodHall, as all the other organisations that provided hot food had closed.

Both charities have been supplying roughly 200 free, tasty and nutritious cooked meals per day to vulnerable people, including people living on the street, those experiencing sanctions on their benefits, or families struggling to pay their bills.

Mark Harvey has been a photographer since 1990 since graduating from Derby with a BA Hons in Photography, after his first career in the Royal Marines. Based in Sheffield, he works for a number of trades unions and national charities in the north of England as well as small photo agencies and local education providers. A recent highlight for Mark was working with the group 'Led By Donkeys' which was very much under the radar on a personal level but achieved national recognition regarding the opposition to Brexit.

See more work by Mark Harvey

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