Char­ity feeds Lon­don­ers liv­ing in poverty

Uxbridge Gazette - - News -

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

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