PUBLISHED: 10:01 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:08 17 March 2020
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A plant-based community cookery school in Stoke Newington has paused its classes and launched a £30,000 fundraiser to run a free food delivery service for vulnerable people.
Made in Hackney, a charity that helps people live healthier lives through cooking classes and training programmes, launched the crowdfunder on Tuesday morning and within two hours had received more than £4,000.
The kitchen team in Cazenove Road realised last week they would need to cancel their events due to coronavirus, a decision it says will be “disastrous” for its future and for the vulnerable people who rely on its services.
So the plan was hatched to serve at-risk members of the community with free nourishing food delivered to their door by non-contact bicycle couriers, who will also check to see how people are coping.
Founder Sarah Bentley says. “This is an emergency. There is a very real risk of our most vulnerable community members going hungry and becoming extremely isolated. If we can’t teach cookery classes – then we need to get nourishing food delivered to the people who need it most another way.”
Project manager Drew Hutchinson added: “We have a five star hygiene rated food production facility and an army of chefs who are now without work – trained restaurant chefs who run our classes – as well as a 120-strong volunteer army.
“We have lots of regular service users and people who are vulnerable and come to us, but if anyone knows someone who needs food they can get in touch.”
The aim is to deliver nutritious meals that can be frozen or heated up. Drew says the charity hopes to prepare 1,000 a week over five days, and the £30,000 would last for a few months.
“We need each other now more than ever,” he added.
View and support the crowdfunder here.
Anyone who knows someone who may need support can get in contact with the charity at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the latest coronavirus news from Hackney and across north London follow our live blog here.