The Mayor’s Fund for London this week launched its Kitchen Social campaign to tackle the growing problem of holiday hunger amongst the capital’s poorest school children – and appealed to wholesalers to get involved.
Statistics suggest that as many as 500,000 London children struggle for food during the school holidays, so the Mayor’s Fund for London is now looking to raise £1m in a bid to fund holiday meal clubs across the capital to help end the hunger and social isolation that are the grim reality for many young Londoners.
Over the next three years the Kitchen Social project will identify and support 330 community organisations across London to create a healthy food and social development offer during the school holidays. Additional benefits will include learning about healthy eating, skills development, social inclusion, identification of children and young people in need and the development of staff, volunteers and local capacity.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It is unacceptable for any child in our great city to ever experience hunger or social isolation. Equally, it is not right that in a city as rich as ours, some parents are having to skip meals themselves to feed their children as they cannot afford a decent meal. Preventing young Londoners from going hungry during the holidays is a challenge that can be overcome by bringing together communities across the capital to look out for some of the city’s most disadvantaged children. I welcome the Kitchen Social programme, which will help to tackle food inequality and provide London’s youngsters with healthy meals over the holidays, allowing them to flourish upon their return to school”.
The Kitchen Social programme will bring together community groups, boroughs, businesses, foundations, charities and individuals to provide meals outside of term time plus look to ensure young Londoners are equipped with the skills and good health they need to get ahead. And in a bid to kick-start the campaign and raise the £1m needed to fund holiday club provision, the Mayor’s Fund for London is calling on the capital’s businesses and organisations to get involved – either by donating food, money, time or expertise or even facilities in which to hold the clubs.
FWD chief executive James Bielby, who attended the launch event at City Hall in London this week, told Wholesale News afterwards: “FWD members support holiday provision programmes throughout the UK and welcomes this initiative by the Mayor’s Fund for London. We will be promoting the Kitchen Social campaign to members as an opportunity to continue the excellent work they are already doing in this area.”
He added that the FWD was already a member of the School Food Plan Alliance, which placed a lot of importance on holiday provision.
Kitchen Social has already won the support of the Innocent Foundation – the charitable arm of Innocent Drinks and Moni Varma, founder of Veetee Rice and Veetee Foods Ltd. He told Kitchen Social launch attendees: “People tend to think about what can be done in Africa or India, but there is a lot to be done here…I think right now the supermarkets are all talking about food waste and we need to find a way to marry the waste to the people that need feeding…” He added that his reason for getting involved in Kitchen Social was to “repay the debt of gratitude” he felt towards the UK, and London, for helping him build his business.
To get find out more about Kitchen Social and get involved, visit mayorsfundforlondon.org.uk or call them on 020 7983 4051.