Fooditude re-opens kitchen to serve those most in need during COVID-19 outbreak

With the rapidly developing situation around CoVID-19, the beginning of March saw a considerable shift in lifestyles for all workers across London. The tech industry quickly adapted to a work from home routine that soon spread across to other sectors, even before it became a government directive.

As a caterer to tech-media firms, Fooditude had to quickly respond to this situation by ensuring the dwindling numbers and rapidly closing client offices were effectively supported and any surplus food was made available to the vulnerable via charities like OLIO or Foodcycle, and not wasted. The central production kitchen at Fooditude was closed on Monday, 23rd March as the management concluded it was no longer safe or viable to remain open.

However, having access to a fully equipped production kitchen with the ability to mass-produce meals meant the team at Fooditude really wanted to do something to contribute in this time of crisis. On 2nd April the Fooditude kitchen re-opened with a small group of volunteers to set up the Fooditude COVID-19 Emergency Response Kitchen. They are serving vulnerable and self-isolating people in Southwark, where the kitchen is located and where incidentally, London has seen some of the highest rates of sickness. On 3rd April they delivered their first 400meals. They will be more than doubling their output next week. They can cook 2000 meals every day and would love to see that capacity filled.

As Managing Director Dean Kennett says: “Shutting our doors was heart-breaking let alone eerie. It felt like all the hard work everyone has put in to get our business where it is today was being thrown away. I knew I had to do something quickly to change that mindset and pouring our efforts into charity work seemed like the best way to do it.”

Fooditude is working with Sam Vacciana from Bermondsey Employment Skills and Training (BEST) to distribute the food. The two organisations have worked together for some time, with Fooditude offering traineeships for BEST’s employment skills students. Cristina Covello, Head of Strategic Growth at Fooditude has this to say about their relationship: “We could not have gotten our emergency kitchen off the ground without Sam’s help. She has been integral in linking us with the community and finding an outlet for our meals. What’s great is that she shares our view of trying to find those in the community that most need our help.”

Speaking of the collaboration with Fooditude, Sam Vacciana says “We at BEST were delighted when Fooditudecontacted us about helping connect them to community partners to donate some freshly cooked meals. We were able to distribute about 300 packed meals last Friday lunchtime to Sheltered Housing Units and charities in Southwark. The feedback has been heart-warming and really helped with not just their residents’ morale, but the volunteers’ too!  We hope that we will be able to continue to provide this bit of love and care by getting more meals out to those who most need them during these unsettling and often lonely times.”

Investing in and alleviating the additional burden on those most vulnerable in the community as a result of this pandemic is of utmost importance to Fooditude and with their substantial kitchen space, they are making a real difference to many lives.