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Food charity delivers 1 million meals to London needy in 6 weeks

A London based charity which diverts surplus food from restaurants, wholesalers and caterers to those in need has delivered one million meals in six weeks, according to figures released this week.

City Harvest, which has rescued 10 million meals from landfill since it launched six years ago, has seen demand for its services soar since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is isolating many of the vulnerable people who rely on the charity for support.

This week, the charity has announced a new collaboration with London institution The Savoy Hotel to provide hundreds of meals each week to vulnerable communities in London, which City Harvest will distribute to those facing food poverty.

City Harvest CEO, Laura Winningham, said:

The Savoy is an iconic London landmark which people respect and associate with luxury. To an increasing number of people in London, food is now a luxury and our vans are becoming iconic symbols of hope. London’s camaraderie is shining, and we are proud to work with The Savoy on this essential project which will nourish a great many people in need.

Meals will be produced following the strictest hygiene and social distancing procedures in The Savoy’s historic kitchens with ingredients donated by the hotel.

Phil Barnes, Managing Director, The Savoy, said:

As most of our team are keeping safe at home, we’re a small group, but we wanted to play our part. We’ll be producing 400 meals a week under the careful instruction and leadership of Fabrice. We’ve longstanding relationships with a range of charities, of which City Harvest was one, so we’re pleased to be able to ramp up our collaboration in this particularly difficult time for many communities.

Chef Lauren Everet, at The Soup Kitchen London, describes City Harvest delivery days as the highlight of her week:

My mind starts going crazy with ideas as soon as I see the goods come off the truck! People are more desperate now than we’ve ever seen them. With all of the closures, our numbers have increased with so many new faces. We’ve seen the extremely young (18-21) and many pension age guests. We’ve seen people come in who obviously haven’t been sleeping rough very long and some who look like they’re right on the cusp of homelessness. We had 161 people in for a hot meal recently, which was a new record for us, unfortunately, but we fed them all, one by one.

Image: City Harvest