Hilton Nottingham Partners With Open Kitchens To Double Free Meal Delivery For Those In Need Across Nottingham and Surrounding Areas
Hilton Nottingham has given social enterprise Open Kitchens a major boost by opening up its large-scale kitchen to enable the initiative to double the amount of free meals available for those in need across the local area. The partnership is part of a nationwide programme which will enable Open Kitchens to provide 50,000 more free meals a month to those in need, using produce which would previously have had to be thrown away.
One in eight people in the UK have difficulty accessing food on a regular basis – a figure which continues to grow as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – whilst 250,000 tonnes of surplus edible food is thrown away annually. As demand from restaurants and caterers has dwindled during the pandemic, the amount of surplus food available has increased exponentially, leading to a major uptick in donations to foodbanks such as FareShare East Midlands. Much of the produce however – originally destined for professional kitchens – comes in bulk, or requires preparation by a chef, before it can be distributed further. Open Kitchens aims to solve food poverty and waste by preparing meals using this surplus food, in currently unused restaurant kitchens, and then distributing the meals to those who need them most.
To begin with, due to lack of storage capacity in the local area, Open Kitchens was forced to turn down huge quantities of food which could have been used to feed those in need across the city. Hilton Nottingham stepped in to join the community effort by turning its high-capacity kitchen, which usually caters for large-scale conferences and events, into a local Kitchen Hub which will accept bulk deliveries from FareShare. With more surplus food available, Open Kitchens is looking for more local restaurants to join the efforts and prepare meals for those in need.
Alex Grundy, Founder and Managing Director, Open Kitchens said: “Over the past nine weeks, we’ve worked with 12 restaurants in and around Nottingham to provide almost 50,000 meals to those in need locally. But we still have so much to do! This new partnership with Hilton will enable us to double the amount of surplus food we can rescue and distribute in the area. Now, we’re on the lookout for more local restaurants to join this incredible community effort, opening up their kitchen space to prepare nutritious meals and help us reach the thousands of people who still desperately need our support.”
Sue Cave, General Manager, Hilton Nottingham said: “The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on our local community has been profound, with the number of people relying on foodbanks increasing at an alarming rate. More than ever in these challenging times, as local businesses we must pull together to support those most impacted by the pandemic to help our community to cope. Naturally, when we heard about Open Kitchens, we jumped at the chance to get involved. The team has already done an incredible job of feeding so many across the city, and we look forward to joining this crucial mission to fight hunger and food waste – both now and in the longer term.”
Simone Connolly, Director of FareShare Midlands – which recently opened its first warehouse in Nottingham – said: “As the Coronavirus outbreak has continued to develop, demand for our services has risen exponentially – and although we were already serving charities, community groups and schools in the city before the lockdown, growing need has meant we have opened a new warehouse operation in Lenton so that we can better support those most vulnerable in the city.
“Whilst we’ve been bowled over by the volumes of food we have been offered by the industry, a significant proportion of this food would not make it into the hands of those who need it most without the support of Open Kitchens and Hilton. Working in partnership, we can add more community kitchens across Nottingham and beyond to support the most vulnerable during the pandemic.”
To donate to Open Kitchens, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/openkitchensuk.
To find out more about how Hilton is supporting the communities in which it operates during the Covid-19 crisis, visit https://newsroom.hilton.com/corporate/page/11937.