Help the Hungry: The Independent’s campaign to feed people in need wins national award

Judges hail ‘truly amazing’ push to help Britons struggling for food during Covid crisis

Friday 16 July 2021 17:43
<p>Evgeny Lebedev, proprietor of The Independent and Evening Standard, joins rapper KSI to help hand out food</p>

Evgeny Lebedev, proprietor of The Independent and Evening Standard, joins rapper KSI to help hand out food

The Independent in partnership with sister title Evening Standard today won the campaign of the year at the prestigious Society of Editors awards for its joint appeal to help feed Britons struggling to access food during the Covid crisis.

The award was given to the Help the Hungry appeal – which raised more than £10m to feed the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable people, supplying more than 20 million meals during the pandemic.

It beat the Daily Mail’s Mailforce campaign to provide PPE for frontline Covid workers, which was named as runner up.

Celebrating the success, The Independent and Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev said: “When Covid struck, The Independent and Evening Standard didn’t hesitate for a moment.

“We raised over £10m to feed millions of people in need. The highest praise should go to the journalists and Felix Project volunteers who worked tirelessly on this campaign.”

Hailing our rapid response to the food poverty crisis, the judges made up of editors from throughout the media said: “Thanks to this campaign, thousands of struggling families have received the help they need. To have smashed a goal of £10m is truly amazing.”

They added: “Both titles came up with an effective project to address a shocking problem at a local and national scale.”

The campaign saw both titles partner with The Felix Project, a charity redistributing surplus food collected from supermarkets and restaurants to those in dire need of help.

The Felix Project was able to quadruple its food deliveries – ensuring thousands of low-income families, the elderly and shielding, as well as homeless people, refugees and women in domestic abuse shelters didn’t have to worry where their next meal was coming from.

Felix Project founder Justin Byam-Shaw hailed the campaign’s recognition. “This was the most sensationally effective media campaign and a brilliant example of how news organisations can quickly make a material difference to its community,” he said.

“From its start in March, it enabled the Felix Project to quintuple the amount of food we were rescuing and redistributing. By the autumn we were redistributing enough food every day to provide fresh meals for 125,000 Londoners, whose lives had been upended by the pandemic and its aftermath.”

Phoebe Waller-Bridge helped volunteer during campaign

This was made possible by a flood of new volunteer drivers and depot workers, who read about the appeal in The Independent and Evening Standard, and the support of donors including Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Ocado, among many others, who responded to the appeal’s call for surplus food and financial support.

Donations poured in from readers, businesses and philanthropists, and celebrities such as Olivia Colman, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jack Whitehall, Spurs footballer Moussa Sissoko and rapper KSI backed the campaign by volunteering with our food delivery teams.

Damien Hirst and Sir Peter Blake made new artworks that were sold on behalf of the campaign, while Sir Antony Gormley, Ai Weiwei, Tracey Emin, Anish Kapoor and Yinka Shonibare donated or auctioned pieces.

The campaign has enabled, as its lasting legacy, the creation of a new social kitchen in London that will cook and distribute 1.5 million meals a year to thousands of hungry school children and vulnerable families. The kitchen is set to open at the end of this month.

Help the Hungry: Olivia Colman visits The Felix Project

The campaign was led by the media group’s executive editor Oliver Poole and campaigns editor David Cohen and involved a team of reporters, photographers, videographers and designers from across both titles.

“It is wonderful that all the hard work has been recognised,” Poole said. “Help the Hungry was a campaign on a scale beyond anything we have done before and saw the two titles unite to do what they could to help people at one of the toughest times in our country’s recent history. Everyone is so proud of what we achieved and it is lovely to have that recognised.”

Reporters involved included Adam Forrest , Vincent Wood and Maya Yagoda from The Independent, Lizzie Edmonds and Abbianca Makoni from the Evening Standard as well as Arjun Neil Alim and Francesco Loy Bell.

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