Cooking up a storm: Felix Project food for 700

·4-min read

Food charity The Felix Project has cooked up a cultural summer lunch for hundreds of primary school children in east London.

The London-based food distribution charity marked the end-of-term at Manorfield Primary School by catering for 700 pupils at the celebratory luncheon this week.

Culturally familiar dishes were prepared for the party, with Halal meat and meals provided by Islamic Relief UK.

The Felix Project, which has launched past appeals with the Evening Standard, used surplus food supply to fix up the festive feast to celebrate the summer holidays – including Eid al-Adha, a three-day observance where Muslims give a sacrifice of meat to those in need.

To minimise food waste, it regularly collects fresh excess produce from supermarkets as well as farms and wholesalers to deliver free of charge to families in need.

Anne Elkins, Head of Special Projects at the Felix Project, said: “To be able to use surplus food to create such wonderful moments that bring the community together in a celebration of food, culture and the planet is so special. Something that I hope Felix continues to do for many years yet.”

Manorfield Primary, Poplar, which has seen an increase in the level of needs, has been supporting children over the last year with 40 families accessing their Food Pantry distribution programme.

Head Teacher of Manorfield Primary School, Paul Jackson, said: “The last two years have highlighted the levels of food poverty and need in our local community. The profile of good waste and climate change has also been raised hugely through this period.

“Working with partners such as the Felix project help us achieve amazing things and today has shown the power of partnership to make a difference to the children and families we work with and a hope for bigger change for a better world in the future.”

Since July 2021, the Felix Project’s kitchen service has been providing a variety of meals at an average of 3500 per day.

Local home cooks and guest chefs backed the scheme by sharing authentic cultural recipes taught to the charity’s kitchen staff.

The Felix Project CEO Charlotte Hill OBE said: “The Felix Project is all about working in partnership and today is a perfect example of that.  We have a fantastic partnership with our local community around each of our depots, and that partnership shines through with Manorfield Primary School in east London today.

“We have a partnership with many wonderful supporters, such as Islamic Relief who are donating an amazing amount of food to support our work today, and have also supported us with funds to do our vital work.

“And of course our partnership with our amazing volunteers, who keep our depots moving and vans on the road getting surplus food to where it is needed most.  We are so grateful for all this support at a time when Londoners need it most.”

Head of Felix’s Kitchen Leon Aarts told the Standard about the meaning a day like this brings to the local community and The Felix Project’s plans for the future.

He said: “From the morning assembly to the lessons they were talking about healthy food, surplus food and what does it mean for the climate and the planet. Then they explained what The Felix Project does and this afternoon they got the meal. So it’s not just a meal, it’s a whole day that the school did a great job of organising and we support them in that.

“This is the last school day for them so we wanted to send them off with a nice memory with what I call a feast. We want to do more of these events now we have the kitchen. Bringing people together around the table, sharing a meal with each other is very powerful.

“There is a lot of beauty in surplus food which we get at The Felix Project and the quality of it is truly amazing and we can do so much with it.”

Islamic Relief UK has partnered with Felix Project to provide 2,300 cooked meals in London as part of their biggest ever Qurbani food distribution.

Shazia Arshad, Head of Communications at Islamic Relief, said: “This event is part of our wider charity drive that we work on around the country and as part of that we are doing Qurbani distributions to mark the festival of Eid al-Adha, which is a moment of sacrifice and an opportunity for us to provide meat distributions to vulnerable people around the country.

“It’s been so lovely to see the children appreciate all of this wonderful food and be so excited. They’ve been really enjoying the meals - some of the kids have told me they really liked the lamb and they kept asking ‘Can we have more?’.

“That joy and excitement you see on the kids’ faces reminds you how important a good meal is for every single child around the country.”

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