Help The Hungry campaign raises over £1.5m for the vulnerable

15 April 2020, Independent

Rise in donations comes thanks to substantial new contributions from Lansdowne Partners, Old Possum’s Practical Trust, as well as foundations of Reuben brothers and Blavatnik family

Donations to our Help The Hungry appeal have surged past the £1.5m mark as some of London’s wealthiest families step up to the plate to support our work in the capital.

A YouGov survey for the Food Foundation has found that 8 million people in Britain are facing food insecurity and that 3 million are going hungry since lockdown started three weeks ago, causing a huge rise in demand for free food.

Last week our appeal partner The Felix Project responded to the deepening crisis by tripling its supply of surplus food to 28 tons a day. This week it expects daily deliveries to hit 30 tons. Felix’s 22 vans operated by volunteer drivers are delivering the equivalent of 400,000 meals a week to a mixture of giant community hubs run by local authorities in Haringey, Barnet, Islington, Enfield, Waltham Forest and Havering and others, as well as to charities and schools across the capital.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “I welcome and support the campaign and its partners to deliver fresh food to those who need it most. It is fantastic to see that Londoners are digging deep.”

The rise in donations to our work in conjunction with our sister title the Evening Standard came thanks to substantial new contributions from Mayfair fund managers Lansdowne Partners, Old Possum’s Practical Trust, as well as the foundations of the Reuben brothers and the Blavatnik family, who are among the five richest families in the UK.

More than 750 members of the public have donated more than £100,000 to our campaign.

A spokesperson for the Reuben Foundation said: “It is incredibly important for us all to continue to support not only the NHS, but also the homeless and children unable to get a proper meal without the help of their schools.”

A spokesperson​ for the Blavatnik Family Foundation said: “We are delighted to support The Felix Project in its valuable work for children in London.”

Judith Hooper, a trustee for Old Possum’s Practical Trust, said: “It’s hard to think of a better, more efficient solution to the scandal of food waste. We are proud to be associated with the genius and necessity of The Felix Project and all those involved in it.”

Felix, the largest food surplus distributor in London, has partnered with the two other major redistributors, FareShare and City Harvest, to form the London Food Alliance to tackle food poverty in every borough. Some schools and charities supplied by Felix have started holding market days.

Katy, a mother of two who picked up fresh fruit and vegetables from her child’s school, said: “It has made me much less scared for the coming weeks.”

The Independent is encouraging readers to help groups that are trying to feed the hungry across the country – find out how you can help here. Follow this link to donate to our campaign in London, in partnership with the Evening Standard.