Melissa Hemsley led an all-star team in cooking for the homeless and said the experience was “eye opening”.The celebrity chef used ingredients which would otherwise have gone to waste to design and make meal for more than 50 residents at a Camden hostel run by charity the Single Homeless Project (SHP).
Rescued food for a nutritious three course community meal
With the recent announcement of a national measure of UK food insecurity and a government fund being made available to help reduce food waste, The Felix Project organised the event with SHP to celebrate organisations working together to dramatically reduce food waste and simultaneously improve social inclusion, health and wellbeing through free nutritious food and community meals.
Actor David Morrissey regularly volunteers for The Felix Project, and helped to rescue and deliver food to the SHP hostel in the heart of Camden that supports homeless people with complex needs. The hostel caters for individuals who experience more than one problem including homelessness, substance misuse and mental health.
Chef Melissa Hemsley was keen to be involved in a project that combines thrift, recycling and sharing, and will be cooking the rescued food for all the residents at the hostel.
Together, they demonstrated how charities such as The Felix Project are working to improve sustainability and tackling food poverty by rescuing surplus food and delivering it to the most vulnerable in our society via incredible charities such as Single Homeless Project (SHP).
Free deliveries of rescued food help some of London's most vulnerable people
The cooking event celebrated community and the partnership between The Felix Project and Single Homeless Project. Ten SHP services receive free food deliveries from The Felix Project each week, and use this to help improve the lives, health and wellbeing of some of London’s most vulnerable people.
Melissa said: “I was astonished by how great the ingredients that were rescued were. They were perfectly good to eat... In less than three hours, we cooked a three course buffet for 50 people using rescued ingredients that were destined for the bin - aubergines were roasted for a curry (the most popular dish) courgettes, peppers and celery baked for a vegetable pasta sauce, perfectly good broccoli and limp basil turned into a super green pesto, boxes of Pannetone revived and turned into the best bread and butter pudding (thumbs up from an Italian resident) served with slightly soft but still delicious raspberries that were squished with vanilla, and freshly squeezed oranges, served with whipped yoghurt.”
Single Homeless Project makes a difference to more than 8,000 lives every year
With 40 years of expertise and a London-wide reach, Single Homeless Project (SHP) makes a difference to more than 8,000 lives every year, providing supported accommodation and community-based support for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Their Arlington Road hostel provides accommodation for former rough sleepers with a range of support needs including substance use and low-level mental health. Healthy eating and cooking activities are one of the main components of SHP’s Opportunities Programme that is believed to be the catalyst towards behaviour change, supporting the most vulnerable to develop their skills towards a more independent way of life.
Chef Melissa Hemsley whipped up the feast at the SHP Camden hostel with Walking Dead star and long term volunteer David Morrissey, who recruited the health food chef.
Melissa said: “I already know, because I'm an Evening Standard reader, how valuable the Felix Project is to communities around London, and when I sat next to David Morrissey at a dinner, we instantly got on and started chatting about how the conversation has to change around buying more, buying new and how many of us need to face up to what we waste."
Volunteering with The Felix Project stops food going to waste and redistributes it to charities and schools in London
David Morrissey is a regular volunteer for The Felix Project, sorting food, shifting crates, loading vans and delivering food to charities and schools.
David said: "Working with the Felix Project is such an uplifting experience and has shown how a simple concept can make such a difference to so many people who need help and to the health of our planet.
If you’re inspired to join our team of 450 volunteers saving nutritious food and delivering it to frontline charities and schools, it’s simple to sign-up. We’d love to hear from you!