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Parkfield Primary School: feeding families in need

During the first COVID lockdown in 2020, Parkfield Primary School in Hendon began to receive a small amount of surplus food from City Harvest. This partnership came via Rackets Cubed, a national charity geared towards supporting disadvantaged children with sports activities and nutritious food. The first delivery was big enough to fill perhaps 10 crates of food, each a good size for a family to load into carrier bags at school pickup and take home. By the end of lockdown, the number of crates, and families involved, had grown tenfold.

The late headteacher, Alison Holding, explained, “The beauty is that there’s no stigma attached to these families collecting their food. Our City Harvest driver, José, knows our context, and who our community is.”

“Children from Year 6 unload and fill up the hall to share out the food. It’s completely changed my relationship with the families, talking to them about what to do with the ingredients. They used to see the headteacher coming across the yard, and think uh oh, what’s my child done? Now, I’m the one who talks about what they are going to do with their box of food from City Harvest.

“From the moment City Harvest arrives – to the day we give out the food – is the best part of my week. A delivery of cherry tomatoes becomes an instant lesson in maths!”

Some of the Parkfield community are refugee families from El Salvador, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Kurdistan, all living at the Brent Cross Holiday Inn and receiving ready meals and snacks. The importance of these surplus food boxes to these individuals can’t be underestimated: the hotel offers no cooking facilities. 

City Harvest deliveries have expanded both the children’s sense of responsibility and food awareness, but even more significantly, the families’ comfort with accepting help and support through the close-knit community of Parkfield School.

Hear about Parkfield Primary’s relationship with City Harvest from Deputy Head, Claire Cunningham, here.

Watch a video of Year 6 students helping Jose unloading surplus food here.

City Harvest food charity's north London community partner, Parkfield Primary School

Parkfield’s Surplus Vegetable Soup Recipe

This is a fantastic soup recipe for any surplus vegetables.

This vegetable soup recipe was created by City Harvest community partner, Parkfield Primary School.


(serves 4)

  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 2 large carrots, finely diced (no need to peel)
  • 2 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 1 large potato, finely diced (no need to peel)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4 ears sweetcorn, kernels cut off and cobs discarded small handful fresh thyme leaves
  • chilli flakes to taste
  • sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 240 ml/1 cup double cream
  • 6 rashers streaky bacon, cooked until crisp and broken into bits (optional) 


This wonderful soup can accept any vegetable, no matter how tired or “wonky.” It can also be vegetarian with the omission of the bacon, and vegan without the cream. It’s very flexible for using up surplus vegetables of any kind.

1. In a heavy saucepan, warm the butter or vegan alternative and add all the vegetables, the thyme and the chilli flakes. Season well with salt and pepper.

2. Stir occasionally over a medium heat until the vegetables are soft.

3. Add the stock and cream and leave the soup to rest for an hour or so. This rest allows the flavours to develop.

4. When you are almost ready to serve, reheat the soup, adding the bacon, if using. Serve hot with bread or crackers.

Parkfield Primary's surplus vegetable soup recipe from City Harvest's charity cookbook, A Taste of City Harvest

A Taste Of City Harvest

A collection of recipes from the tables of City Harvest’s community of London charity partners, feeding those most in need.