What has it been like to volunteer during the pandemic? Social enterprise Bread n Butter – one of the charities supplied by our Help The Hungry appeal partner, The Felix Project – closed its doors at the end of March.
However, its founders saw a growing need among the city’s most vulnerable for regular home-cooked, nutritious meals, so they joined with community centres Stonegrove Community Trust and the Hive Trust.
Since then, Bread n Butter’s team, aided by volunteers, have been cooking and delivering more than 1,000 meals a day to Londoners in need in Barnet, Enfield and Brent. Here, we speak to four people who keep this project going.
Joanne Karbritz, 47, works up to five hours a day, four days a week at OneStonegrove community centre. The former Oxfam shop worker, who has high-functioning autism, said that because of her condition, having a “structured day” is incredibly important. “Without routine, I can’t cope,” she said. “I would not be here if it wasn’t for this project.”
Ms Karbritz, who is also anorexic, said working with food had been transformative. “Working to create healthy, nutritious food everyday has changed my relationship with it. I have also learned how to cook, whereas before I lived out of tins.”
Max Dickson, 27, decided to take up volunteering for the first time after being furloughed. The project manager from Colindale felt “guilty” about sitting at home while supported by taxpayer money through the furlough scheme. “I wanted to help others,” he said. He and his girlfriend signed up to work one day a week at OneStonegrove.
He said: “We have spoken about doing this when it’s all over. It’s great to help out.”
Readers have just three more days to bid for a piece of Sir Peter’s Blake’s pop artwork, Our Fans, to raise money for Help The Hungry. The auction of the giant mural – which echoes Sir Peter’s design of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album and was draped over the London Mandarin Oriental hotel during its 2017 renovation – closes at midnight on Friday. There are 100 fragments, each featuring a famous face such as Ringo Starr or Annie Lennox.
The Independent is encouraging readers to help groups that are trying to feed the hungry during the crisis – find out how you can help here. Follow this link to donate to our campaign in London, in partnership with the Evening Standard.