Food For Thought
In the face of coronavirus and London's worst hunger crisis in decades, Marcus Roberts from The Felix Project tells us about their incredible emergency response, their partnership with Fortnum's and how you can get involved.
Every day in the UK, two million people cannot afford to eat, while our food industry generates nearly two million tonnes of avoidable waste each year. The Felix Project saves high-quality food that cannot be sold and delivers it to charities that cook hot meals and prepare food parcels for vulnerable people.Fortnum & Mason has been involved with Felix from the very start and is one of the biggest fundraising partners in the StreetSmart campaign, of which The Felix Project is a major beneficiary. Fortnum's has raised over £150,000 in the past three years for the campaign. The project was set up by Justin Byam Shaw in memory of his son Felix. The charity began in March 2016 with one small depot, one van and one employee. Speaking of the partnership, Justin says:
'Fortnum & Mason has been with Felix from the very start, supporting us with amazing surplus food and funding.’
Today Felix has 22 staff, 1500 volunteers, two large depots, a central London operation and a fleet of 20 vans who were delivering almost 40 tonnes of nutritious rescued food per week before Covid-19. Their schools programme in the most deprived areas of London provides children and their families with fresh fruit and vegetables to take home. The Felix Project give a sense of community to thousands of Londoners with regular daily and weekly food deliveries, including the elderly, the homeless and refugees. Since the start of the pandemic they have fed more people than ever before. The charity has nearly quadrupled their daily food output with around 100,000 meals now being redistributed to London’s most vulnerable communities via schools, emergency food hubs, food banks, social kitchens and other community organisations across the capital.One of the first charities Felix started delivering to is St Laurence’s Larder, which helps 3,000 vulnerable people a year. Its founder, Stephen Chamberlain, reflected on the service that Felix provides:
’For people down on their luck and at the lowest ebb of their lives, make no mistake, Felix is a godsend.’
In October 2018 the charity moved from its original depot to a much larger space, giving it room to grow and consolidate its impact in London. Last year The Felix Project delivered enough food for over three million meals, and this year it aims to deliver enough food to create at least four million meals – great news for its waiting list of charities and schools.In the face of coronavirus, they have scaled up an impressive emergency response – growing to four times their usual output and providing instrumental support to the most vulnerable, as London faces its worst hunger crisis in decades.If you want to do more, a warm welcome awaits everyone at the Felix depots where you can help by sorting food and getting out on the road delivering to the charities – you may even find yourself sitting in the Fortnum’s van! The Evening Standard and Independent have launched an appeal to help The Felix Project deliver surplus food to vulnerable Londoners who are unable to afford food or cannot access it due to coronavirus. £30 donated today will deliver enough food for 165 meals to help people who are poor, elderly, sick or self-isolating. To get involved and see how you can help click the button below to visit their website.