Hilary Lindsay (centre), and Denise Fellows (right) from the Livery Charity Chairs Group and founders of the Livery Food Initiative, visited the City Harvest depot to meet the team, and to make deliveries with driver, Jose (left), on the LFI van.
It was a beautiful and memorable day for Hilary and Denise who united the Liveries to raise over £190,000 to support City Harvest’s vital work. The van made deliveries to our friends at The Winch, youth charity, & homeless charities JW3 Feast and Cricklewood.
Hilary Lindsay. “It was obvious how much everyone enjoyed their jobs at City Harvest. We all had hi-vis jackets that were colour coded – we saw several red ones given to volunteers who have volunteered for more than 100 hours – and we met one volunteer in the warehouse who was about to go past 1,000 hours!!
The shelves were in the main full but it was worrying to see how some of the long- term staples were in short supply. The demand from charities for ambient food like pasta and rice is huge and some shelves were sadly completely empty.
The production line was amazing! The vans arrive at the back of the premises with the food the drivers have collected – there is then a really impressive sorting process which works its way through the warehouse and results in the food ending up in a range of crates – meat, fruit, veg, milk, etc. (refrigerated where necessary) and the vans then being loaded at the front of the premises ready for the drivers to set off on their delivery rounds.
The emphasis is very much on healthy food – with well-known quality brands. There were lots of peaches and spinach on the day so most deliveries featured both.
Our van driver, Jose, (famous for singing his way around London) had already been out collecting food, then unloaded it and his van was packed ready for the deliveries. Jose made us so welcome – even serenading us!! He was very clear that he felt he was doing the best job in the world – and the charities we visited thought he was as well!
Above: City Harvest driver Jose, (very much parked, not driving!) acts out a carpool karaoke style sing song. Local, Brazilian superstar, Jose, is famous with his charities for delivering as many smiles as meals. <3
The technology in the van is impressive – cameras, heater controls (so as little fuel as necessary is used) and a very clever phone that was not only a sat nav but gave details of all the charities we were to visit. After downloading the crates Jose then entered what he had delivered to each. He did a fantastic job of distributing all the food he was carrying.
The three charities we visited were all so very, very grateful to City Harvest – and all already knew how they were going to use the food deliveries – for children, for day centres, for people who were homeless. The whole day was just so humbling – we saw so many people trying to help so many other people in so many ways. City Harvest is facilitating a quite amazing chain of food recovery and redistribution.
We came away absolutely delighted that we had chosen to support City Harvest who are making such a difference for so many.”
I was particularly affected by conversations with the COO of The Winch.
The work that they do in running after school clubs, daytime activities for pre-school children and giving support to young families is so vital in keeping children off the streets and out of trouble. Soye talked about how long the Winch has been going (since the 70s) and that they are seeing the next generation of families using their services. They expressed a need for more deliveries from City Harvest as the demand on their services was growing.
The LFI has raised £190,000 to fund a van for 3 years. They continue to help support City Harvest, providing extra resources needed to feed as many people as possible, people facing such high living costs that food is often the last priority.
Livery Food Initiative
Read how and why the Livery Food Initiative was set up, who has supported & how you can get involved.