Though Covid-19 may have been labelled by some as The Great Equaliser it has only enhanced London’s social inequalities, according to a charity dedicated to redistributing excess meals to the hungry.
Food poverty has increased in the wake of rising unemployment and school shutdowns, with more than 3m Brits going hungry due to the coronavirus crisis, according to a survey from research body Food Foundation.
And more than 400,000 children under 16 years old were facing a lack of food in 2019, according to Mayor of London statistics.
City Harvest has sought to tackle this issue by redistributing the food surplus amassed in hospitality industry businesses.
A grassroots organisation, City Harvest was co-founded in 2014 by American-British couple Stephen and Laura Winningham. Their interest in food-focused charity work arose after their experiences working in a London soup kitchen.
City Harvest said it has collaborated with a number of charities to rescue 1.5m meals in the first nine weeks of lockdown.
The operation relies on donations of surplus food from caterers, supermarkets and companies that van drivers then deliver across London. Many of the drivers have benefited from the charity’s work in the past.
The The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC), Whole Foods and the Savoy are among donors during the pandemic, helping City Harvest reach their 11m meal mark.
“We are proud to have distributed more than 8,500 meals so far,” AELTC chief executive Richard Lewis said.