‘What a joke, the food’s gone up in smoke’

Leftover food from the OWee barbecue Sunday would be handed out in the playground in the Bomenwijk neighbourhood. A great initiative, but it didn’t happen. A mistake?

The Schie barbecue. (Photo: Marjolein van der Veldt)

‘Collect free food here’. Sunday night, boards point the way to visitors at the playground on the Beukenlaan. The food will be dished out between 19:00 and 21:00. A mother and her six year old son are already waiting on a bench at 18:30.

The woman has a minimum wage and saw the boards by chance. She thinks it’s a good initiative. “Meat and salad are expensive,” she says. “I took a photo of one of the boards and sent it to friends who are also on a minimum wage. They may come too.”


At around 19:00, one of the students in the playground receives a phone call. There is less food available than expected because of ‘poor refrigeration use’, he says. Student volunteer Lily Krams is visibly irritated. She claims that unopened meals were not put in the fridge. A little later, Frances Stegenga parks her bike at the playground. This Wippolder resident had received a flyer in her letterbox with two free tickets for the opening celebration. She read on the website that leftover food from the No Waste Schiediner could be collected after the event.

Disappointed faces

She came out of curiosity. “Luckily I am able to pay for my food and my fridge is full,” says Stegenga. “I am just curious to see if there are vegetables and where the food goes. I asked my neighbour to come with me.”

At around 19:30, student Jochem Franken speaks up. “Dear people, there is no food left. It was shared out among the participants. The good news is that nothing was wasted, but it unfortunately means that I have nothing for you.” Disappointed faces. The woman and her six year old son get on their bike. Stegenga apps her neighbour: ‘what a joke, the food’s gone up in smoke’.


Jochem Franken has a disappointing anouncement. (Photo: Roos van Tongeren)

Franken explains that it is because of ‘the logistics’. “A large delivery like this has been a test for us. We ordered food for a certain number of people, but you never know if everyone comes. There is quite a big margin and we may not distribute food that is left outside the fridge.” Franken explains that the leftovers of the barbecue were noted, after which the students could take home an extra portion.

This year, sustainability is important to the OWee. Another activity is to prevent plastic cups from being dropped on the ground and stamped on during the Monday evening parties. “You can hand them in at the bar and get a new cup. The used cups can then be cleaned immediately. The cutlery is made of PLA (Ed. polylactic acid, an organically degradable plastic) that is used as a raw material for 3D printing.”

After his anouncement, Franken and the other student volunteers leave the area, to the displeasure of the volunteers of the Stichting Speeltuin Bomenwijk. “It is so rude that they just leave us here,” says one of them that does not want to be named in Delta. “They just leave the very thing that they themselves have organised. Some people got a letter from the Food Bank that they could pick up free food here. They may not have done any shopping and may have no food. And now we have to tell them that nothing was delivered.”

A boy and girl then turn up on their bikes and ask about the free food. The playground volunteers tell them that there is no food left as it has already been handed out. “Oh,” says the girl, “that’s good, nothing has been thrown away.” They cycle off.

When asked, Elke van Mechelen, responsible for the OWee’s communications, says that she can well understand the disappointment and that she will contact the playground volunteers. “The amount ordered was just right,” she said. “It was beyond everyone’s expectation. We are not happy either about how this all turned out.”

News editor Connie van Uffelen

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