Charity feeds Londoners living in poverty
AN estimated 74,000 children go to bed hungry in London each day and yet thousands of tonnes of good, nutritious surplus food is simply dumped in rubbish tips by restaurants, caterers and supermarkets.
Now one Ealing charity is trying to rebalance this ridiculous equation.
As austerity bites more than ever, Acton-based City Harvest estimates it has fed three million Londoners living in poverty by collecting and redistributing unwanted food from shops, restaurants and cafes.
It is aiming to feed more than 60,000 Londoners on a regular basis from its Ealing warehouse.
In a simple but obvious equation, it picks up nutritious surplus food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, manufacturers, wholesalers, hotels and caterers, and drives it out in vans to more than 200 organisations that help provide food for those in need.
These include homeless shelters, soup kitchens, after school programs, centres for veterans, and organisations that assist people with alcohol or drug addictions.
It delivers seven-days-a-week in 23 out of 32 the capital’s boroughs.
Laura Winningham, CEO of City Harvest, said: “In London, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, more than 25% of the population face food insecurity.
“Meanwhile, tonnes of nutritious surplus food from manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and the hospitality industry is sent to landfill each day.”
The warehouse, which is currently run by volunteers, allows the charity to collect and deliver 30 tonnes of food each week and has industrial freezers that keep food for longer.
City Harvest has grown significantly over the past year, meeting the growing needs of people in London facing food poverty.
It has secured several large contracts from major food producers to take their surplus food direct into its new warehouse.
The charity City Bridge Trust recently awarded City Harvest £79,800 to pay for a manager to run the food storage warehouse.
Ms Winningham added: “The support from City Bridge Trust enables us to connect waste and want safely, reliably and efficiently and in the next 12 months distribute food for more than three million meals to vulnerable people in our community.” Alison Gowman, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said: “City Harvest operates in a city where an estimated 2.25 million people live in poverty, 74,000 children go to bed hungry and thousands of tonnes of good, nutritious surplus food are sent to landfill every year. As a relatively new organisation, the charity has grown extremely quickly, already preventing more than three million Londoners from going hungry since it begun.
“Together we are helping Londoners in food poverty and supporting social businesses to grow, so more and more people can be supported.
“City Bridge Trust is committed to making London a fairer place to work and live.”
Since it began, City Harvest says it has redistributed 1,400 tonnes of food that would otherwise have gone to landfill, feeding an estimated three million Londoners and stopping 5,258 tons of greenhouse gases being released into the environment.
City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates. It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.
The trust has awarded around 7,900 grants totalling more than £380m since it first began in 1995.
It aims to help achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.
In London, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, more than 25% of the population face food insecurity Laura Winningham
The charity has grown rapidly over the past year