We are proud to say that the Royal Borough of Greenwich has become a blueprint for London’s emergency food response in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. A ground-breaking partnership between GCDA, the borough council and CACT (the Charlton Athletic Community Trust) has led to consistent and hugely valued food assistance for families and individuals in most need. To date we have cooked and delivered nearly 13000 nutritious ready meals for community groups such as the Single Homeless Project, African Smile, Central Eltham Youth Project, Clock House Community Centre and Roots 4 Life. We have also sorted and delivered just under 3200 boxes containing enough good food for a family or an individual to last them a week. 13.5 tonnes of surplus food have been redistributed.
The cooked meal project is overseen by GCDA’s Sophie Taylor and Christina Reynolds, who’s devised a tempting menu of dishes such as salmon fishfingers with potato wedges, chicken curry and aloo mutter and rice. Surplus ingredients from the charity FareShare are used wherever possible. The food is cooked in the main at GCDA’s catering kitchen by our own top team – chef Brian Emmons, plus assistants Nicola Nzuza (from Public Health RBG) and Titilope Durajaiye. Brian cooks three days a week, whilst fantastic volunteer chefs come into the GCDA kitchen for the remaining weekdays. All of the meals are frozen and vacuum-packed so that they can be heated up and served when most needed. Many of the projects that we deliver to, then redistribute the meals onwards to beneficiaries within the community including NHS staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Our food box scheme is headed up by Jane Downes and Sophie Taylor at GCDA’s community centre WCCC, which has been turned into the key Greenwich delivery hub. Hundreds of boxes a week are packed up by an incredible team of volunteers without whom we really could not have managed. Each of our boxes contains enough good quality meat (if applicable), vegetables and store-cupboard essentials to feed a family (or an individual) for a week. The scheme sprang into action as soon as lockdown was announced and is now relied upon heavily.