The charity City Harvest, which has worked tirelessly to end hunger and support those in need across London, has added an expansion to its main facility that will allow 60,000 more meals per day to go to its community partners.
A host of dignitaries including WRAP CEO Harriet Lamb and Local MP Rupa Huq led a ribbon-cutting unveiling of the new mezzanine floor in Acton Park, which adds much-needed square footage. Development company SEGRO, The Story of Christmas, and Permira Foundation were instrumental in their financial support and buildout of the new addition.
“It’s heart-warming to watch the growing success story of surplus food redistribution, and we are proud that the WRAP-managed grant scheme supported City Harvest as they rescued surplus produce from farmers and got it to people in need,” Lamb said. “Overall, a huge 70 million more meals were redistributed in the last year thanks to City Harvest and other organisations in this sector, and we celebrate all the people involved backstage to make this possible.
“It is my absolute pleasure to be part of opening the depot expansion, and I know this will help ensure food reaches those who need it most rather than ending up in the bin.”
The expansion is absolutely critical as around 25% of all Londoners are experiencing food poverty in some form, including a million children.
“Seeing City Harvest is needed more than ever is bittersweet,” Huq said. “The expansion reflects an acute need to increase capacity at this desperate time. I congratulate the whole team on making this happen.”
City Harvest’s work includes gathering all of excess food it can from restaurants, grocers, manufacturers, wholesalers, hotels, and caterers. It then helps to distribute “high-quality, nourishing meals” to those partners. The beneficiaries are not only the growing homeless population, but those trying to rebuild their lives, including women in crises, refugees, veterans, and the elderly.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a massive part of the operation, not only because they can be saved but because those facing food insecurity are disproportionally affected and do not eat enough produce.
“By increasing City Harvest’s capacity, we can rescue, store and deliver greater volumes of food,“ Dean Bernard, Head of Operations at City Harvest, said. “As a direct result of the newly implemented mezzanine area, our total operating capability has more than doubled City Harvest’s current daily output.”