Our very own FoodCycle CEO Mary McGrath was awarded an MBE for her services to the country in the New Years Honours List 2021 and we couldn’t be more thrilled! The appointment to Member of the Order of the British Empire marks a career working tirelessly to fight food poverty, social isolation and food waste through her work with national charities including FoodCycle, FareShare and Grocery Aid.
Mary says: “I was thrilled to be included in this years Honours List. I hope this award will help to increase awareness of the amazing work we do at FoodCycle to strengthen communities by bringing people together for a healthy meal – at a time when help is needed more than ever.”
A passionate advocate for the power of community to combat loneliness; the positive impact that conversation over a nutritious meal can have on hunger and wellbeing; and educating society to make better use of surplus food, Mary began her career in the food industry developing biscuits and cereals for major supermarkets but wanted to do something more fulfilling.
This lead to roles heading up Grocery Aid – which was the first UK food redistribution charity that donated surplus food to over 400 charities – and spearheading projects to re-distribute surplus food for over 900 charities at FareShare. Mary also sits on the board of trustees at The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT), a charity that makes life more affordable for people on a low income, builds stronger communities and reduces food waste through its innovative affordable food service.
When she joined FoodCycle in late 2013, she quickly recognised our potential to develop communities through social dining, whereby guests and volunteers shared a three-course meal made from surplus food. Since she took the reigns, we’ve grown from 400 community dining events per year to serving 1500 guests per week at 42 locations across the country, with further plans for expansion. To date, the charity has served 2.1 million meals to vulnerable people across the country and saved 900 tonnes of surplus food.
Stephen Catling, our FoodCycle Chair says:
“I am delighted Mary has been recognized in the New Years Honours 2021 for her outstanding contribution and leadership in supporting communities through our charity. It is also a great recognition of the amazing work from the whole team at FoodCycle across the UK”