Cocoa Fowler didn’t have an easy start to life – he was raised in the care system, leaving school in 1981 to serve in the Royal Artillery. As a gunner Cocoa served his country for 15 years including a tour of Iraq. After leaving the army Cocoa established a successful business overseas but felt an irresistible pull to help others in need, leaving for Sri Lanka in 2005 to volunteer with the tsunami relief effort.
It was after his return to the United Kingdom that Cocoa began to struggle with physical and mental health issues, losing his job and eventually becoming homeless. It was only when he approached a charity for help with food that he saw light at the end of the tunnel and after being asked to help as a volunteer driver he found a new passion and an idea for a new charity, Food for Nought.
Today Cocoa’s Peterborough-based charity Food for Nought delivers surplus food from local farmers and supermarkets to food banks, hostels and community fridges. With a team of trustees and right hand man Neil Crowson, Food for Nought have helped tackle food poverty and have redirected over a thousand tonnes of food from landfill.
In 2019 Food for Nought linked up with the Big Issue project Social Echo who helped Cocoa and team to secure storage at a Peterborough food factory. In 2020 Social Echo offered the charity more warehousing facilities at its pilot hub just outside Peterborough.
Food is currently being collected from organisations including:
- Tesco’s – M&S
- Riverford Organic Farms
- Serpentine Green
- Barnack Distributions
Further to the collection and redistribution of this surplus food, volunteers have also been running cookery courses to teach individuals and groups how to cook a variety of meals with a view to better using the surplus food that is available through the Food For Nought scheme.
Following the donation of a van to the organisation, Food For Nought has been able to triple its supply of food to its food hubs. It is estimated that over 900 people are being helped weekly from the community fridges and 100s more from the food delivered to other charity’s in the Peterborough area.