Merton College, part of the South Thames Colleges Group, is proud to be working alongside Merton Council and other partners to bring Merton’s Community Fridge Network, an initiative to help deliver food to individuals and families who are struggling throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Under the new London Food Alliance plan, this project involves each London borough setting up a facility to receive, sort and distribute surplus food to residents experiencing food insecurity and financial hardship. The College is being used for its excellent food storage facilities including large refrigerators and freezers, with food being stored and prepared at the facilities within its Catering and Hospitality training school.
The College Group’s security and facilities staff are supporting this work, with Merton Council employees carrying out the preparation of food deliveries received from Fareshare, a food distribution charity of the London Food Alliance. Supplies are sent out to local partners including Salvation Army, Sustainable Merton, Tooting and Mitcham FC, Wimbledon Guild, Dons Local Action, Kommunity Kitchen and the Association for Polish Family PYZA – which are then delivered by volunteers to Merton residents.
The aim of this London wide scheme is to pick up large amounts of donated and surplus food from the commercial sector and deliver it to those in need. Supplies include fresh fruit and vegetables, chilled goods and long-life produce.
Peter Mayhew-Smith, Group Principal and CEO of South Thames Colleges Group, says:
“We are so pleased to be working alongside partners to deliver Merton’s Community Fridge Network, to make sure households in need are well looked after during the Coronavirus crisis. We'll do all we can to make this initiative a huge success and thanks to everyone who's worked so hard to get it underway”.
Diana Sterck, Chief Executive of Sustainable Merton, added: "This is a very fast moving project and the partners are coordinating their approach to make sure food gets to those who are most in need. I am delighted that the ‘Merton’s Community Fridge’ name is being used as it is so important that we not only deal with the current food crisis, but also that we ensure a long term sustainable approach to tackling food poverty and reducing food waste”.