The Wimbledon Foundation today announced it has extended support for organisations addressing food poverty at Christmas and beyond as part of its ongoing response to COVID-19. With support from Food and Drink at Wimbledon, and food surplus distribution charity City Harvest, the Wimbledon Foundation will have supported the provision of more than 20,000 hot meals by Christmas Day.
Ongoing support during difficult times
Acknowledging that food provision continues to be one of the major challenges caused by the pandemic, the Foundation, the charitable arm of The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and The Championships, has extended its funding for the provision of hot, nutritious meals for those most in need within in the local community. Since the end of May, the AELTC has prepared 20,000 meals for more than 25 different local organisations and community groups, with one third going to people who are homeless. The continued funding of this vital service, which will continue until at least the end of February, includes the preparation of hot, quality meals by the Food and Drink at Wimbledon team who are based onsite in the AELTC kitchens, and the distribution by City Harvest, the food surplus distribution charity with whom the AELTC has a long-standing relationship.
In support of the partnership, the Food and Drink at Wimbledon chefs have designed a Christmas menu which has been distributed from 15th December onwards. The menu features garlic and rosemary roast turkey crown with pigs in blankets, caramelised onion stuffing, Dauphinoise potatoes and roasted sprouts, alongside freshly baked bread and butter, Christmas pudding and custard and a traditional mince pie. In addition to the festive menu, the culinary team has also created gingerbread men design kits which can be completed and enjoyed at home by children this Christmas.
A member of the Wimbledon Park Housing Estate, said: “Receiving food from the All England Club has been amazing and helped us keep residents safe and fed. Many of the estate’s residents, especially the elderly, have been afraid to go out, couldn’t get to the foodbank or wouldn’t even open their door because of concerns about being scammed. We’ve been able to keep an eye on vulnerable residents and build relationships by offering meals from the All England Club. Many large families on the estate have struggled to feed their children and again the fresh and tasty meals have provided a lifeline for them.”
Organisation leaders delighted to extend partnership
Laura Winningham OBE, Chief Executive of City Harvest, said: “Wimbledon is a brilliant example of a creative solution to give back that has emerged during this crisis. The AELTC’s commitment to providing the highest quality food to those who are struggling has made an enormous impact. Our drivers are always proud to make these deliveries as it ties in with our goal of delivering the most nutritious food to those who need assistance. It is a brilliant partnership, one that we are very proud to be part of and one that makes lives better throughout London.”
The provision of meals is in addition to the Foundation’s ongoing support of the Wimbledon and Wandsworth Foodbanks, City Harvest and other organisations supporting vulnerable people with food in different ways across Merton and Wandsworth.
Helen Parker, Head of the Wimbledon Foundation, said: “The coronavirus outbreak has magnified the problems that already existed for those without homes and continues to bring many more people to the brink of becoming homeless. Food poverty is also a continuing issue – The Trussell Trust which runs foodbanks nationally reported an 89% increase in demand between April 2019 and April 2020 with more than half of the people using foodbanks since the start of the pandemic doing so for the first time. In response to this, the Foundation is building on our support of homelessness and food provision services to support those most severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, including over the challenging Christmas period.”
Adam Fargin, Executive Chef, Food and Drink at Wimbledon, added: “Preparing and providing delicious food is at the heart of everything we do. Thanks to the generosity of the Wimbledon Foundation and the ceaseless efforts of the City Harvest team, our team have been able to go that extra mile in terms of helping to make a real difference to people’s lives this Christmas.”