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Earth Day celebrates Londoners working together to save lives

To celebrate Earth Day we are looking at what we are doing to help London right now. More and more, we are seeing that small acts of kindness go a very long way.

Reducing greenhouse gases: Since lockdown alone, City Harvest has rescued over 430 tonnes of food, delivered 1 million meals and offset over 1,634 tonnes of greenhouses gases. We are rescuing healthy nutritious food and making sure people have fresh food where possible packed with nutrients.

What City Harvest is doing: We have scaled up drastically in line with the needs of recipients, delivering to foodbanks, community groups, hostels, NHS and faith groups who are geared up for social distancing and delivering food parcels to those in need. Our vans have become a symbol of hope for many across London.

Children Facing Food Poverty: 1 in 6 children In London faced food poverty before covid-19, that’s 400,000 hungry tummies lacking basic nutrition. As emergency workers delivering to the frontline and vulnerable, City Harvest is acutely aware that these numbers are drastically rising as a result of lost income and no free school meals.

The silver lining of this pandemic gleams, shining light on the incredible people and organisations who are uniting. We continue to work with the hospitality industry who are cooking meals for us to distribute, as well as as working with new collaboratives and companies to ensure food reaches those in need and raise funds to keep our vans rolling.

The Mayors Fund for London has launched #Londontogether and we are delivering food to their Kitchen Social hubs. Below an example of food parcels at Bubble and Squeak community group, now at Old Oak Community Centre.

Schools have become hubs for low income families to access food, and we work with many organisations who are preparing food and care packages for those who would otherwise go without. Chefs in Schools is responding to London schools who reach out, “1.3 million children rely of free school meals, and for some it is the only food they get each day, we want to help feed as many of those children as we can.”

Here from behind tables lined with food to take away, Ealing Soup Kitchen staff and volunteers can have brief conversations with those collecting food, whilst respecting social distancing. For some this many be the only social contact they have for days.

Food Banks

As well as delivering fresh food and supplies to community groups who feeding the vulnerable, homeless and food insecure, we deliver to food banks. The manager of a Kensington food bank explains what he sees ona daily basis,

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“I cannot tell you how happy it has made us. Although we are in the midst of this awful crisis, your deliveries have been like Christmas. It has meant that we are struggling less to put together nutritious meals for our most vulnerable. The bulk of pour meals go to vulnerable children who will otherwise not be fed. I deal directly with schools who have children with very vulnerable needs, for whatever reason, life has thrown at them. We currently feed 180 children daily, Monday to Friday. We would eventually like to put together weekend care packages for them. We also feed homeless – 100 meals a weekend some vulnerable adults.”

Stephanie Wood, Founder/CEO, School Food Matters comments,

“It’s heartening to see how grassroots organisations and charities have come together to feed families in their communities. This happened long before guidance came from government and these community programmes continue to feed 1000s of families every day whilst government is working out the logistics. One thing we’ve all learned through this crisis is that citizens must have access to nutritious food and clearly ministers and civil servants did not understand that ‘an army marches on its stomach’ when planning its emergency response. We’ve revealed cracks in the food system – the lack of resilience in food supply and food access. Perhaps now, lead by the charity sector, we’ll build a fairer food future, that’s resilient to shocks and will nurture the nation.”

Hanwell and West London Community Fridge who we deliver food to:

“From day one we have seen young mothers in desperate financial straits bursting into tears because they could now feed their children again.”

If you can donate – £1 enables us to deliver 4 meals to those in need, and keep our vans rolling! Thank you. Stay safe.