Food For London Now: Scenes of young queueing for food have moved us, say volunteers

Abbianca Makoni
·3-min read
<p>Volunteers Daisy Affum and Errol Johnson</p> (Henry Hudson)

Volunteers Daisy Affum and Errol Johnson

(Henry Hudson)

Volunteers working as part of our appeal have described the heartbreaking stories of vulnerable Londoners they have helped feed.

Daisy Affum and Errol Johnson spoke about how Londoners should come together to tackle the hunger crisis as they posed for portraits by artist Henry Hudson which can be bought by readers to support Food for London Now.

Ms Affum, who works as a catering manager at a school but helps feed vulnerable Londoners in her spare time, said: “This issue of people going hungry was here long before Covid-19 but the virus has made it worse.”

The mother of four, from north London, said when the pandemic forced the country into lockdown she felt compelled to start her organisation, DaisyBeats.

“It all started from my car, I would drive around on my own delivering to as many people as I could but thankfully I later started working with Enfield council, With Compassion and The Felix Project,” she said.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday the team from With Compassion cook and deliver hot meals using surplus food supplied by Felix that would otherwise be destined for the scrap heap.

Curries and moussaka are among the dishes handed out by the volunteers from our state-of-the-art trucks to DaisyBeats food recipients.

The 59-year-old told the Standard: “People from all walks of life come here to get food.”

Already, 400,000 children go hungry in the capital, according to a recent survey published by the Greater London Authority. But since last month, the Standard, along with our appeal partners, has been working to combat this situation through our Christmas appeal.

Ms Affum added: “The truth is we have a lot of cases coming here especially ex-convicts who have mental-health issues because they have just come out of prison and fallen into a pandemic and they don’t have anything.”

She added: “We also had a couple of people who were not homeless but they were so lonely and they needed a community so they came here to volunteer and distribute the food donated.”

Freelance chef Errol Johnson began volunteering with With Compassion at the start of the pandemic.

Mr Johnson, 56, said: “Before this campaign I was at the base working away in the kitchen and cooking hot meals for recipients — so I hadn’t spoken or met any of the people getting food from us.

“Now that has changed and I’ve been travelling around on the trucks and that’s when I got to see what was going down. It was a shock because I didn’t realise how seriously bad things are — we saw young people with their parents and the elderly lining up for food.”

Mr Johnson, 56, said: “Before this campaign I was at the base working away in the kitchen and cooking hot meals for recipients — so I hadn’t spoken or met any of the people getting food from us. “Now that has changed and I’ve been travelling around on the trucks and that’s when I got to see what was going down. It was a shock because I didn’t realise how seriously bad things are — we saw young people with their parents and the elderly lining up for food.”

Let’s Feed London Now!

This November and December, together with our sister title The Independent, we will be delivering food directly to 1,000 Londoners a day through our partner With Compassion. Please donate here to help ensure no Londoner goes hungry this Christmas.

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