Today, The Independent launches the most urgent of appeals for the most basic of human needs – food for those in hunger.
The coronavirus crisis has massively widened the numbers of people suffering from the already endemic social evil of food poverty. The hundreds of thousands of people making use of food banks have now been joined by many more.
Those now losing their jobs or self-employed livelihoods, or seeing their wages cut, will find it harder than ever to make ends meet. Because of self-isolation and panic buying, many who would otherwise be able routinely to go out and provide for themselves now have to rely on the kindness of others.
Isolated pensioners and other vulnerable people simply cannot always get to the shops when the supermarkets allocate an hour or so to their needs. It is an especially acute problem in rural areas, but can happen in the most crowded but impersonal big cities.
Children, all of a sudden tipped out of school, where free meals and holiday food programmes were provided, may fall through the new safety nets. Heath and care workers, and other key staff in supply chains, public transport and basic industries such as energy supply, may not be able to make it to the shops to get fresh produce. There is a shortfall in the quality as well as the quantity of the foodstuffs available to them. That needs to be remedied.
The need is great, it is obvious and it is set only to grow as we approach the peak of the pandemic. Already London is proving an epicentre for Covid-19 infections and its hospitals are being overwhelmed by what’s been termed a “tsunami” of patients.
The least the community can do is to show support and provide tangible help to the NHS heroes – fresh, nutritious food as well as the heartwarming collective standing ovation on Thursday evening. The capital – right in the frontline – will be an important beneficiary of this appeal.
Money will play a big part in fighting the battle on this new front in the war on coronavirus. We are therefore asking individuals, companies and any other organisation fortunate to still have stable finances to join us in this national effort in the most straightforward way possible. Even modest sums can make a surprising difference in the hands of the experts on the ground, such as The Felix Project which channels fresh food to community kitchens to make wholesome, nutritious meals for the homeless and others in dire need. Volunteering and food donations are also important.
We also invite charities, large and small, to collaborate with us in this emerging humanitarian emergency. Despite the trillions spent by governments globally, there are inevitably people who are missing out.
Please, then, learn more about our appeal here. The London Food Alliance, which includes The Felix Project, FareShare and City Harvest, needs money to coordinate the food deliveries – you can give here.
You can help food banks and charities in need of money, food donations and volunteers here. If you are a food charity in need of help, get in touch with us at email@example.com to be added to the list.
As the weeks of this crisis continue we will be publishing stories about the difference your generosity and dedicated charities are making to the lives of people who cannot fend for themselves.
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