500,000 meals provided through festive food banks

17 January 2024

The Felix Project brought festive cheer to hundreds of different people, after the charity redirected tonnes of food from closed food banks to alternative sites.

Each month the food rescue charity sorts and redistributes around 1.2M kg’s of food. However, over Christmas and New Year around 50% of the community organisations and schools that usually get food were closed, meaning around 600,000kg of food needed to be sent to different locations.

Most of this food was divided up between existing and open community organisations, who got much larger deliveries than usual. In addition, The Felix Project set up community distribution events which focused on giving locations a full van load of food. Each van was filled with up to a tonne of food, enough for more than 150 families.

Between 22nd December and 4th January 2024, 226 community events took place. Of those 163 were at locations Felix does not regularly deliver too, such as housing associations, nurseries, soup kitchens, mosques and more. It also included schools that opened especially to take delivery of the food.

Rachel Ledwith, Head of Community for The Felix Project said: “This year the community distribution events enabled us to give out the equivalent of 500,000 meals and many of those went to people who do not usually benefit from Felix food. The produce we gave out was incredible – there was a huge range of vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy, bread, and plenty of high-quality delicious Christmas treats and more. Sadly 170,000 working London families had to use a food bank for the first time this year and Christmas was a tough time, I know these events made a big difference to many people struggling with food insecurity.”

One of the places that received a special delivery was Manorfield Primary school in Tower Hamlets. The school usually get around 250KG of food each week from The Felix Project but are closed for the holidays. However, this Christmas they opened the gates Sunday 24th and Friday 29th December and each time received four times the usual amount. Rebecca Abraham’s is the Headteacher and said: “We usually feed around 30 families each week and the parents are always really grateful to get the food. For these deliveries we have had an extraordinary amount of food – it was incredible to see it all laid out, there was plenty of vegetables, meat, basically everything people need to create a good couple of meals for their families. We were not only able to feed many more families from the school, but also people from the local area were able to benefit, they were so grateful and so many said it will make a huge difference to their children.”

The events were a huge logistical job, around 450 volunteer drivers and their assistants took on the new routes and a further 902 warehouse volunteers were required to sort the food at the Felix’s four depots across London.

On top of the redirected food, The Felix Project saw a big increase in the amount of food they had to sort. In the week before Christmas the charity received over 500 tonnes of surplus, on an average week they get around 300 tonnes.