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Help the Hungry: Our appeal raises £3.5m as food crisis deepens

The Felix Project now delivers quadruple the amount of food as Phoebe Waller-Bridge pledges her support

David Cohen,Adam Forrest
Tuesday 05 May 2020 20:06 BST
Phoebe Waller-Bridge joins The Independent’s Food For London Now campaign

Our appeal to feed the vulnerable surged past £3.5m today as new research showed that the hunger crisis blighting the UK has deepened.

Research in London shows more than one in 10 families reported that at least one person in their household has gone hungry during lockdown because they could not afford or get access to food, according to a YouGov poll for the Food Foundation charity. This equates to 130,000 families citywide.

These figures would in all likelihood have been much worse if not for the lifeline provided by our Help the Hungry appeal partner The Felix Project, whose efforts have been boosted by the help of Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Felix has quadrupled its food supply to vulnerable Londoners. New data shows that in the five weeks from the beginning of lockdown to the end of April, Felix delivered 810 tons of surplus food, the equivalent of two million meals.

It amounts to just over half the 3.6 million meals supplied by the three members of the London Food Alliance –​ FareShare, City Harvest and Felix – and involves deliveries to 1,508 charities and schools and 53 giant community hubs run by local authorities.

Major new donations to our appeal include £100,000 from The Daylesford Foundation and a further £110,000 from Citi on top of the £50,000 it has already given.

Carole Bamford, founder of The Daylesford Foundation, said: “At a time when some families are going for days without a proper meal, the critical work of The Felix Project is needed now more than ever.

“The surplus food they obtain is being delivered direct to people’s doors – including those who have lost jobs, are on low incomes or are sick. They include struggling families, key workers, older people who are isolated, people who are homeless, survivors of domestic abuse and refugees.

“We have worked with The Felix Project for four years and are delighted to provide further support at this time.”

The Felix Project provides food for people at Haringey Play community centre in London

The additional Citi money includes funds donated by employees at the bank and £100,000 from their European rates business which gave €1 for every €1m (£870,000) traded electronically in March and April. Matt Jerman, Citi’s head of European Linear rates, said: “The continuing challenges posed by this pandemic have led to unprecedented pressure on food charities. We unite with many to support this vital cause and the essential work being done by The Felix Project.”

Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, said that society risked “leaving children behind in conversations about emergency support and they’re falling through the cracks as a result”.

Dr Rachel Loopstra, lecturer in nutrition at King’s College London, said: “It’s clear from the data, as well as trends in food bank use, that families with children are really struggling right now. Watching parents struggle to put food on the table and go without food themselves is devastating for children.”

Last week The Independent pledged to raise £10m to help The Felix Project feed people who are unable to afford or access enough food over the next three years.

The Independent is encouraging readers to help groups that are trying to feed the hungry during the crisis – find out how you can help here. Follow this link to donate to our campaign in London, in partnership with the Evening Standard.

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