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Fighting food waste

451. Lotti Henley

A 90 year old who has dedicated her life to preventing food waste through her charity ‘Plan Zheroes’

10 Downing Street

Lotti Henley was born in Slovenia family and was 14 when the Second World War broke out. With food constantly scarce, she learnt from a young age that waste was unacceptable. With all of the carnage around them, Lotti and her sister became nurses. When Russia invaded the German border, Lotti and her sister were sent to repatriation camp. They experienced intense hunger, with Lotti resorting to tying a belt around her waist to distract her from the pain.

From her experiences, Lotti was inspired to tackle any food wastage she saw, setting up PlanZheroes and developing a unique and innovative method of distribution.

Plan Zheroes attempts to reduce food wastage by connecting organisations with a surplus of food – such as Pret A Manger – with organisations who have a shortage. Volunteers transport the food between organisations. Lotti has convinced over 250 restaurants, food stores, bakeries, supermarkets and markets to donate the food that they would otherwise have thrown away, creating a network of volunteers, donors, businesses, charities and concerned individuals who want to help.

Aside from the volunteers that work with the charity, Lotti also inspired a design and technology consultancy company, Keytree, to create their website and surplus food map on a pro bono basis – helping to connect excess food suppliers with the organisations that can distribute it.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Lotti’s personal experiences of extreme hunger have inspired her with an incredible dedication to eliminating food waste. Her passion and energy has motivated many other volunteers and organisations to come together to create Plan Zheroes; an innovative way of putting businesses with surplus food together with charities who can redistribute. She has helped to prevent tonnes of food from going to waste and I am delighted to recognise her as the UK’s 451st Point of Light.”

Lotti said:

“I can’t believe it and I don’t feel worthy of this award! Without all the work of our amazing volunteers none of this progress could happen”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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