Over the summer, The Felix Project has been giving food to 20 holiday hubs across London. We teamed up with social mobility charity, the Mayor’s Fund for London Kitchen Social programme, which diverts nutritious food to children, young people and their families who need it during the holidays.
During the school holidays, we switched from delivering food to primary schools to weekly deliveries to holiday clubs which provide activities, a free meal and run healthy cooking sessions. As a result, around 2 tonnes of wonky veg and other nutritious fresh or cupboard food that suppliers cannot sell is used for about 5,000 meals for young people.
The Felix Project depends almost entirely upon volunteers. Among the most recent recruits are staff from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Hyde Park, London, who have spent the summer volunteering with London charities following a fire in June. At The Felix Project, Mandarin Oriental volunteers drive vans and rotate stock in the warehouse.
Damien Conrad, Depot Coordinator at The Felix Project said: “One of our volunteer van drivers is an Executive Chef at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. We got chatting about the volunteering work Mandarin Oriental staff were also involved with at Kitchen Social hubs and realised it was an opportunity to be involved in the entire chain of food rescue, from collecting surplus food through to cooking a meal and seeing children enjoy eating it.”
As a result, Mandarin Oriental volunteers collected surplus food from supermarkets, wholesalers, delis and other suppliers in the usual way. They sorted stock in the warehouse for different charities and school holiday clubs, and the food allocated for the Kitchen Social hub at Islington Play Association’s Timbuktu adventure playground was also the food that they used to cook a meal for 60 children.
John Barber, Executive Chef at Bar Boulud in the Madarin Oriental Hotel said: “We had lots of wonderful food in the warehouse which was perfect for a red lentil pasta dish followed by fluffy coconut pancakes with fresh raspberries and strawberries. The lentil pasta gave protein as well as energy, the vegetables in the pasta sauce counted as 2 portions of the recommended 5-a-day, and the pudding as 1 portion. Perfect for 60 hungry youngsters!”
Francesca Silvester, Play and Learning Manager at Timbuktu said: “The children have a keen interest in cooking activities. The children excitedly watched the chefs in action, learnt about the food and then sat down together, tucking into aubergine and tomato pasta, fresh mixed salad and fruit filled coconut pancakes. It gave them the energy to be super active and adventurous in the playground”
The delicious ingredients came from supermarkets, warehouses and delis that save their surplus food for The Felix Project. Fresh food for the Timbuktu cooking event was from Mash Purveyors and Natoora along with other suppliers, and the spiral red lentil pasta was from Profusion Organic. At the end of the day, children were given Felix bags filled with nutritious goodies, flyers and a leaflet about the food they had eaten.
The Felix Project welcomes new suppliers, volunteers, charities, schools and financial supporters, all of whom are vital to provide a food redistribution service that is completely free of charge.
- Details about volunteering as a driver, co-driver, walker, cyclist or warehouse assistant are on the Volunteering FAQs.
- Details for suppliers are on the Food Donation FAQs
- Information about becoming a partner are on the Corporate Support page