Charity saves 1.4 tonnes of food from postponed football matches

A charity which prevents food from going to waste saved 1.4 tonnes worth of meals for needy Londoners when the capital’s biggest football teams had games postponed.

The round of football fixtures on September 11-12 were called off across the country after Queen Elizabeth II died as a mark of respect, which left a lot of London football clubs in need of a quick solution to large amounts of surplus food.

Clubs including Fulham, Crystal Palace, Chelsea and QPR picked up the phone to charity City Harvest London, which made sure the food was not wasted. 

The food saved from the cancelled match days went to people currently facing food poverty across London

City Harvest driver Marvin Clarke picks up food from Crystal Palace FC (Picture: City Harvest)

The football clubs donated a total of 1.4 tonnes of surplus food to City Harvest London, equating to 3,368 meals for Londoners who cannot afford to eat.  

Mike McSweeney, Fulham FC Foundation chief executive, said: “Since March 2020, when matches were postponed due to the pandemic, the Fulham Football Foundation, working with the stadium caterers and City Harvest, agreed a process to redistribute food to local food banks and charities.

“We were, therefore, ready to react when the Fulham v Chelsea fixture was postponed and with our stadium providers Sodexo, distribute more than 1,000 meals to people facing food poverty through City Harvest.” 

The Fulham FC Foundation, based at Craven Cottage, donated a total of 551kg of surplus food, collected by City Harvest drivers at the weekend.

The Whites’ surplus was diverted to west London charity partners, including St Pius X Church food bank in Ladbroke Grove.

Parish priest Father Peter Wilson said: “The rather shocking fact is that, in London, we throw away more food than we consume.

“Fortunately, City Harvest bridges that gap and helps us to feed those who are in genuine need.

“That need can be both physical, as well as a need for social connection and community. Community is a rather wonderful thing.”

Crystal Palace FC helped to ensure no good food was wasted by donating 312kg of fresh fruit and vegetables from last weekend’s suspended matches. 

By preventing fresh food from ending in landfill, the Eagles and City Harvest avoided more than a tonne of harmful emissions from contributing to climate change.

Chelsea FC’s surplus food donations were redirected to City Harvest charity TREM Church in Fulham, providing enough food for more than 200 meals.

TREM helped parishioners and anyone in need by providing free community meals during the Covid pandemic and continues to do so as the cost-of-living crisis tightens its grip on Londoners. 

City Harvest’s longest-serving volunteer, Elena Hutchinson, is a key member of the TREM community.

She said: “The most important part of TREM is community outreach. We’re currently giving out City Harvest food to more than 130 people every Saturday. We’re seeing numbers rise again.” 

Pictured top: Ben Abbay, City Harvest Transport Manager, with Fulham FC Foundation representative (Picture: City Harvest)

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