October 29, 2020

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Foodies welcome

Restaurants help to feed key workers

Restaurants forced to close due to the lockdown have been generously cooking thousands of meals for the vulnerable – supporting the same aims as those of The Independent’s Help the Hungry campaign.

Many of the restaurants are members of The Felix Project, our appeal partner, and help fund the charity StreetSmart through donations from diners’ bills over Christmas. This initiative has raised more than £10m for homeless people.

Mildreds, which has several branches in London, launched a crowdfunding campaign at the start of our appeal that has enabled it to provide 400 meals each week to local hospitals. Sam Anstey, its managing director, said staff were determined to do what they could to help key workers. “Creativity and strength is formed from our community and I’m proud to be a part of such a great team,” he said.

Another Streetsmart supporter providing emergency food is Skye Gyngell’s restaurant Spring, at Somerset House in central London. Spring has been delivering food parcels as well as meals to the Royal London Hospital.

“We have been cooking a simple, wholesome, organic vegetarian meal for our local NHS hospital,” Ms Gyngell said.

“It’s been fun and nice to feel like we are contributing in some small way.”

Adam Handling’s Restaurant Group, a new recruit to StreetSmart, is preparing about 1,000 meals a week to help feed key workers in London, including those in the NHS. Working in conjunction with The Felix Project and Open Kitchen, it is cooking and packing meals that are sent to key workers, the YMCA, shelters and food banks.

Mr Handling said: “It gives us a great sense of worth when we know that we can still use our skills to make a difference to someone’s day.”

Other restaurants that have been undertaking similar activities in the capital include Murano in Mayfair, Arabica in Borough Market, Quo Vadis in Soho and The Lighterman in Kings Cross.

In addition, D&D London has provided more than 2,000 free meals a day to key workers across the UK from its four outlets, which include the South Place Hotel and Radici in London, 20 Storey in Manchester and Issho in Leeds.

This effort has been led by Henry Osborn, the head chef of its catering and events company Alexander & Bjorck.

Managing director Lena Bjorck said: “I’m excited to see our industry rising to this challenge.”

Kimberley Coke, of Streetsmart, added: “It has been truly inspiring to see so many restaurants step up to the challenge of feeding NHS staff and those most in need.”

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

The full list of Streetsmart restaurants taking part can be found here.

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