Facebook Challenge

Facebook challenge nets over 830 cans of food for Soup Kitchen

A friendly challenge between two local parents at a daughter’s birthday party using Facebook has collected 830 cans of food and 320 packet soups, with a value of over £1,000, have been donated to Peterborough Soup Kitchen and will allow them to feed the homeless of Peterborough for over 8 weeks

Ryan Hounsell and Tracy Hough were celebrating Tracy’s daughter’s 5th birthday party in November 2011 and discussed what to do with the waste food that occurs at these types of events and food waste in general. The party was 5 weeks before Christmas, so they talked about collecting and donating some ‘non-perishable’ food stuffs and canned soup.

Facebook Challenge - Ian, Ryan and TracyTracy, a director of CT Flow Solutions Ltd said: “Ryan and I thought about asking others to help with the collection and to make it into a competition. So it became ‘who could get the most cans of soup – a soup off! – by Christmas’. Although it started with us talking, we very soon used Facebook and other social media to appeal to our friends, family, work colleagues and others.

What started as a little friendly rivalry, soon spread through the use of Facebook into a campaign to support either Tracy or Ryan and win the competition. Their friends asked for contributions from their own workplaces, as word of the competition spread on the internet. They were donated many cans of food and soup from local organisations such as; Stephenson Smart & Co, RNIB, Bauer Media, the City Hospital and the management of the recently opened Morrisons store in South Stanground, Peterborough, were very supportive and generous.

Facebook Challenge Food CollectionRyan, a manager at Waveney Insurance Brokers in Peterborough said: “The rivalry got quite intense, so most nights I would post a soup related picture or video, such as I’m Free by the Soup Dragons, on my Facebook page to increase the hits and keep it live in people’s minds. Many friends who I had not heard from for a while sent in donations. At the start we would have been happy with about 100 cans, so the final result has been far greater than we both ever imagined”.

Both Ryan and Tracy wanted to help a local homeless charity at Christmas time in a very practical way, so they decided to contact Peterborough Soup Kitchen and offer whatever number of donated cans they would receive before Christmas. The soup kitchen, which has helped feed the homeless of Peterborough, six nights a week, for over 28 years happily accepted the donation. It serves from its van about 25,000 hot cups of soup and about 50,000 sandwiches every. These are all prepared and served by a group of 150 dedicated local volunteers.

Ian Davies, the Chairman of Peterborough Soup Kitchen added: “Ryan and Tracy emailed me weekly to let me know the numbers of cans they had each collected, so I was getting a ‘real time’ idea of the enthusiasm they were generating and the support they received. When they brought the cans in just before Xmas we spent over an hour unloading the contents. The food and soup donated will allow us to feed homeless people in Peterborough for over 8 weeks. This is a fantastic effort by all those who donated and helped out in the competition. We salute you!”