It’s been a rough year for F&B, there’s no denying it. Restaurants everywhere have had to find ways to survive and continue to pay their rent and staff despite incredible declines in revenue. For some, even though their own businesses have been hit hard, they’ve still put their efforts into helping those who have been hit even harder in the city.
At the beginning of February, Feeding Hong Kong announced that their food bank was staying open and asked for your help. Since then, they have pivoted their operations to respond to changes in supply chains, worked with charity partners to gauge and support their most immediate needs and shifted volunteer activities to keep food moving to where it’s needed most.
The result is 610,000 meals for those who are most vulnerable:
- Food industry partners have donated 170 tonnes of excess products
- Logistics partners have stepped in to help with additional storage space and transport
- Community food drives have collected over 30 tonnes of rice, noodles, canned goods and other key staples
- Corporate and foundation partners have supported the emergency food box programme
- Volunteers have contributed 2,167 hours to sort, pack and distribute food
- Charity partners have pivoted their food programmes to supply food and hygiene products to those who need it most
- Distribution of 260 tonnes of products to help those in need including 4,440 emergency food packs, 93,000 face masks and 10 tonnes of hygiene products
We spoke to Gabrielle Kirstein, CEO of Feeding Hong Kong, who provided the information above and took the time to tell us how their partners like Pizza Express, Meraki Hospitality and NOSH have all used the downtime in their kitchens to help to prep meals for some of Feeding HK’s front-line charities.
She also detailed how some of their partners have gone above and beyond to give back to the community throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
In March, Pizza Express supported Feeding HK with the production of 100 fresh pizzas at their Lab kitchen. These were an extra-special donation for low-income families with young children going into their second month of homeschooling. They also continue to help to share the call for donations of key staples such as rice, canned food, cooking oil and noodles for people in need. Their restaurant in Sai Ying Pun has a permanent food- donation collection point for community food drives where members of the public can drop off packaged donations.
In early April, NOSH reached out to offer a weekly donation of freshly cooked meal boxes. This was part of a wider community initiative by NOSH to donate warm meals to their local hospital. Feeding HK paired them with a nearby crisis shelter, which they started supporting with 40–50 meal boxes a week. They also embraced Feeding HK’s “Food, wanted not wasted” mantra and helped to incorporate a donation of surplus cheese from the food bank into a tasty and nutritious pasta dish.
Also in April, Meraki Hospitality (the team behind BEDU and Uma Nota) took up the meal-box challenge. Feeding HK paired them with their charity partner RUN, which has since enjoyed delicious, freshly cooked meals such as stir-fried noodles with vegetables and fish cakes with black pepper sauce. The meals are packed into Feeding HK’s reusable, environmentally friendly lunch boxes and washed and returned each week to the restaurant by the RUN team to ensure there’s no unnecessary plastic waste. In addition, Meraki is also supporting Feeding HK with a community collection point at their Uma Nota restaurant to make it easy for individuals to donate non-perishable food.
Pret A Manger
Feeding HK’s long-standing partner Pret A Manger continues to donate their evening surplus to charities across the city. But when social-distancing measures impacted their operations, they didn’t think twice to call Feeding HK with an offer of excess bread, croissants and other high-quality items. They also continue to help with fundraising through the coin boxes in each of their stores and sharing Feeding HK’s Food Matters campaign on their social media channels.
Another regular food donor, Bread Elements (the expert bakers behind Bakehouse) called Feeding HK with a donation of 300 surplus hamburger buns. As their Bread Run programme has been on pause since February, these were a particularly valued donation that enabled them to share high-quality, fresh baked goods with multiple front-line charities.
A&W Food Service
It’s not just consumer-facing stores that have been stepping up, but their suppliers too. A&W Food Service, a long-standing supporter of Feeding HK’s food bank, was faced with a backlog of fresh milk in the early weeks of February and swiftly donated 10 pallets for them to share with their charity network. This high-quality, nutritious donation was warmly welcomed by Feeding HK’s front-line partners, who worked quickly to distribute it to low-income families and seniors upon receipt at their centres.
For more information on the wonderful work Feeding HK does and how you can get involved, visit their website.
You can also help Feeding HK by placing your votes for this year’s Foodie Forks. With every vote we receive, we’ll be adding to our donations to both Feeding HK and Pei Ho Counterparts to aid those who most need it during this difficult time. Perhaps some of the good peeps above deserve your votes for their inspiring social conscience that goes along with their delicious food!
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