ine months in the past, once we launched Meals For London Now from a standing begin 72 hours after lockdown, we did it as a result of we feared meals poverty would soar as susceptible households got here below stress.
We partnered with The Felix Challenge, London’s greatest surplus meals distributor, and have been the primary British newspaper out of the blocks with a marketing campaign.
Initially we thought elevating £3 million to help Felix could be sufficient, however because the starvation disaster deepened, we set the daring objective of elevating £10 million and founding central London’s largest “social kitchen”.
It was a vastly formidable ask and we risked being embarrassed by falling brief, however final week’s revelations within the Normal that the university-educated center lessons now comprise 10 per cent of the food-bank queue exemplifies simply how dangerous issues have turn out to be.
We had excessive hopes that this Authorities would step in to match-fund our efforts, however Felix obtained a risible £150,000.
It was barely sufficient to cowl two weeks of working prices, but nothing extra was forthcoming, regardless of heavy criticism within the Home of Lords that the Authorities was not doing sufficient and recommendation from the Nationwide Meals Technique — commissioned by ministers and delivered by Leon founder Henry Dimbleby — that charities like Felix have been glorious worth for cash.
Nonetheless, with meals financial institution queues swelling, donations poured in, together with — remarkably — greater than £1 million from atypical members of the general public.
We secured giant company and philanthropic backers, together with £250,000 or extra from every of Ocado, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Citi, the Garfield Weston Basis, Lansdowne Companions and the Night Normal’s Dispossessed Fund.
We activated the giants of the artwork world. Damien Hirst and Sir Peter Blake made new artwork works that have been bought on our behalf, elevating over £1.7 million. Sir Antony Gormley, Ai Weiwei, Tracey Emin, Anish Kapoor, Yinka Shonibare and Bridget Riley donated or auctioned items for our marketing campaign.
Felix has equipped an astounding 20 million meals to 600 charities and faculties since lockdown. That’s an unbelievable effort that you simply, our readers, will be pleased with. It boggles the thoughts to think about how a lot worse issues would have been for hard-up Londoners with out your help.
Serving to susceptible Londoners to not fear the place their subsequent meal was coming from is a part of our — and your — pandemic legacy.
And now, with the deliberate opening of the social kitchen within the New Yr, an initiative to make use of 15 cooks and kitchen workers to prepare dinner and ship 1.5 million meals to Londoners in want yearly, we have now created a everlasting useful resource that may assuage starvation within the capital lengthy after Covid.