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Sunday, 23 January 2022

Charity started in response to pandemic celebrates donation of 1,000,000th meal

A charitable foundation set up by a catering company during the Covid-19 pandemic has this week celebrated the donation of its one-millionth meal, with recipients to date including NHS staff, key workers and vulnerable people of all ages.

The charity was set up by contract caterer Thomas Franks, which experienced a drop in demand for its usual services during last year’s lockdown and decided it would instead use its skills, facilities and supply network to produce much-needed free meals for people who needed them.

This means that, since the beginning of the pandemic, through its Feeding Communities project, the Foundation has now provided more than one million fresh, healthy and nutritious meals and fruit hampers to people across the UK, Malta and Portugal.

Charity started in response to pandemic celebrates donation of 1,000,000th meal
Cathy. 4 children, 2 with various health problems. Waltham Forest. Photograph credit: Jacky Chapman.

In addition to providing its own skills and services free of charge as part of the effort, Thomas Franks also persuaded its clients to provide their own kitchens as hubs for food production. The company’s network of local and regional suppliers have also provided food and logistics support to make the initiative a success during the hardest of times. The Thomas Franks team then also volunteered their time in creating and preparing the free meals throughout the last year, as well as raising money themselves to keep the effort going. 

The family who received the one-millionth meal live in Poplar, East London. The family of six received their food package – which was created for them by the Thomas Franks Foundation in partnership with its City-based client Barings. They have been assisted by Miracles UK, a charity that supports children and families living in poverty. James Burton, Miracles Project Director, launched Feed London during the pandemic to support thousands of London children facing serious food shortages and hunger during the school holidays.

Charity started in response to pandemic celebrates donation of 1,000,000th meal
Food package

Catherine, who received the food package, said:

“Thank you so much for the kindness and support from Feed London and Thomas Franks. Life has been so hard for us over the past year – there isn’t a week that goes by when we don’t run out of food and money and, by Thursday, we are scrapping meals together out of nothing. The support we have received from Feed London and Thomas Franks has been wonderful and really helped us get through some tough times. To be selected for the one-millionth meal was so exciting – we had such a wonderful meal last night and the donation will go a long way. Thank you.”

Charity started in response to pandemic celebrates donation of 1,000,000th meal
Food package

Frank Bothwell, founder of the Thomas Franks Foundation, said:

“We are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved in such a short amount of time. Our 1,000,000 free fresh meals have played a small part in keeping people going, through what has been an incredibly tough year – particularly for our brilliant key workers and those who can’t always afford to put meals on their own table. We couldn’t have done this on our own though and we’re grateful for all the generous donations and support from our partners, staff, volunteers, clients and the public. They have all helped us to reach this fantastic milestone.

“Our work doesn’t stop here though – more than 150 charities are now benefiting from our support, but there are so many critical workers and families who still need our free fresh meals, which is why we’ll continue to help those who need our support. We welcome anyone who’d like to join us with their time, surplus stock, kitchens, vehicles or donations.”

James Burton, Miracles Project Director, added:

“The Thomas Franks team has been fantastic to work with over the last year. They’ve produced so many fresh, healthy meals for those who need them and we’re so grateful for their support. We’d like to congratulate them on reaching this phenomenal milestone.”

The Thomas Franks Foundation has been producing and delivering thousands of fresh meals every week, across the UK, Malta and Portugal, bringing together a coalition of the willing to help hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life. For example, Thomas Franks partner Barings has supported schools and homeless charities across London, while also supporting the Mayor’s Fund initiative, Kitchen Social.

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