I am writing this letter to bring you some bad news, amid all the reopenings and vaccinations. The inevitable truth is that many of our London colleagues will face disaster and starvation when the current Covid crisis ends.
According to the Food Foundation, one in eight children has been food insecure since Christmas. Many people will not celebrate on the terraces of restaurants and bars. Instead, they are haunted by ghosts like unemployment, debt, and poor health.
Last year, with the help of readers, we raised £ 10 million to allow our charity partner The Felix Project to distribute groceries for an astonishing 88,000 meals a day, four times more than last year. However, the latest research suggests that production will need to be increased again to meet London’s needs. The misery and despair caused by the pandemic will not simply go away with a vaccine.
Now we want to support the charity to achieve the ultimate goal: end food poverty in London. That legacy begins with the establishment of the largest social kitchen in central London in Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived areas in Europe.
Rather than serving just one community, this kitchen prepares up to 6,000 nutritious hot meals a day for delivery across the city, with the expertise of the food supplier Deliveroo and the distribution network of the Felix Project.
There are two other reasons why we decided to support The Felix Project in opening this mega kitchen.
First, it will recruit and train professionals in the Tower Hamlets community.
Second, it uses food that would otherwise have been wasted, either because producers can’t sell it or because charities often have difficulty accepting large quantities of ingredients, often with short expiration dates.
During this time of immense crisis and silent suffering, the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund is donating £ 1 million to equip and prepare the kitchen for opening later this year.
One of the lessons we should learn from this crisis is the value of collective action and spirit.
This kitchen will be an essential weapon in our fight to end food poverty in London for good. Let’s do this together.
Evening Standard holder