Big Help Out: Food charities come together in push for Coronation volunteers

Jack Monroe visited London’s Community Kitchen in Wealdstone  (Felix Project)
Jack Monroe visited London’s Community Kitchen in Wealdstone (Felix Project)

Food charities came together with food writer Jack Monroe to call for more volunteers to join millions of others taking part in the Big Help Out for the King’s Coronation.

Devised to pay tribute to Charles’ many decades of public service, the national day of volunteering on Bank Holiday Monday, May 8, aims to inspire people across the country to try volunteering for the first time.

Thousands of volunteering opportunities are available the length and breadth of the nation.

Food charities are hoping to recruit the next generation of foodbank, surplus food and community kitchen volunteers.

The Felix Project, FareShare, City Harvest, and London Community Kitchen launched their community food push on Friday.

‘Boot Strap Cook’ Monroe, an anti-poverty campaigner famous for her low-budget and store cupboard dishes, who unveiled an adapted ‘economy’ Coronation quiche recipe , said: “We often talk about donations but it’s volunteers that really power our country’s community kitchens and foodbanks -they simply couldn’t function without them. And they need you.

 (Felix Project)
(Felix Project)

“That’s the point of the Big Help Out  - to create a lasting legacy from the Coronation that does real and lasting good by inspiring the next generation of volunteers. So now is the time to get involved - just put your postcode in the app, and find opportunities to get involved in near you.”

Charlotte Hill OBE, CEO of The Felix Project, that rescues high-quality surplus food from farms, food manufacturers and supermarkets before distributing it to around community groups and schools across London, said: “Quite simply The Felix Project could not do what we do without our incredibly dedicated army of volunteers. Everyday people come to our depots and give their time, they sort the food, drive the vans and they work in our kitchen preparing and cooking the meals.

“Without them thousands more people in London would go hungry and so much more good food would go to waste. We are delighted to be part of this event celebrating the hard work and dedication of our volunteers and hope being part of The Big Help Out will enable us to inspire a new set to step up and get involved.”

Marcus Roberts, relationship manager at the charity, added: “During the Coronavirus pandemic a massive 12.4 million people volunteered. Just when the world was at a crisis point, people all over the nation got involved with various charities and community organisations and did what they could to help out.

“4.6 million of them volunteered for the very first time, of that 3.8 million said that they wanted to carry on volunteering and keep giving back to their local communities.

“This is very inspiring and highlights the depth of passion there is amongst the public to get involved and support good causes, and The Big Help Out – is hoping to galvanise a new generation of volunteers.”

Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Big Help Out alongside The Felix Project and other community food providers. Volunteers play an enormously important role in the work we do across the UK, and this is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate those who already give their time so generously, at the same time as inspiring new ones too.”

Matt Hyde, CEO of the Scouts who helped organise the Big Help Out, said: “The Big Help Out aims to create an unprecedented mobilisation of volunteers across the country marking a moment of national significance and celebrating the central role volunteering plays in our national story. By inspiring people to lend a hand we aim to create a lasting legacy for the coronation – a new generation of volunteers.”

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m immensely proud that more than 500 Team London volunteers will be alongside volunteers from the Scouts and many other charities helping Londoners and visitors to our capital during the Coronation weekend.

“King Charles has devoted his life to public service and I can’t think of a better way to mark the Coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort than by volunteering. By joining together to help others now and in the future, we can build a better, fairer London for everyone.”

The Felix Project was the partner charity of the Standard’s Food for London Now appeal that helped set up its social kitchen Felix’s Kitchen, where chefs take surplus food ingredients from the charity’s depot and turn them into meals.

The charity is also a beneficiary of our recent On the Breadline cost of living appeal that raised more than £4 million to help the most disadvantaged people across Britain.

For more information on volunteering visit