Celeb chefs back campaign to help feed 1.3 million vulnerable children missing out on school meals

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 13 April 2020

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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With schools closing in the UK, almost 1.3 million children from low-income families who are used to receiving free school meals are at risk of going hungry.
 
Food-sharing app OLIO has launched a nationwide campaign, #Cook4Kids, to encourage everyone who can to cook and prepare simple meals and share them with neighbouring school children – using a no-contact pick-up.
 
OLIO, best known for its role in reducing food waste by allowing people to share surplus food, has over one million active members in the UK. Its 1.9 million global users have together shared over three million portions of food.

‘The impact of the coronavirus is overwhelming, and many members of our community have been calling out for ways they can help.
 
‘With the news that school closures could leave almost 1.3 million children without their main meal, we realised this is a clear, simple way to galvanise the nation to #cook4kids and ensure that no child goes hungry.
 
‘You don’t need to be a top chef, you could make something as simple as a pasta bake, freeze individual portions and share on OLIO. These small actions can have such an enormous impact on families who are in need of help – and it’s something we can all do when at home during these uncertain times to join in and do our bit.’

TESSA CLARKE
Co-founder of OLIO

Meals for school kids

In just one week of launching the #Cook4Kids campaign, OLIO has seen over 5,000 meals being prepared and shared on the app, specifically for school children.
 
OLIO enables members to upload meals to the app so they are available to be requested and picked up by neighbouring parents – all with zero contact to avoid spread of infection.

Members are also encouraged not to make specific trips to share food – but instead incorporate a collection or drop-off into a trip to the supermarket or daily exercise.

‘School dinners are often the only hot meal many children get in the day. With schools closing indefinitely – we need to find a way to continue to feed vulnerable children a nutritious meal. The #Cook4Kids is a great initiative.’

ASMA KHAN
Darjeeling Express owner

Celebrity backing

A host of high-profile chefs have pledged their support for the campaign, encouraging their fans to #cook4kids with @olio_ex and sharing simple, nutritious recipes which can be easily followed to provide local children with a fresh, tasty lunch or dinner.
 
Those involved to date include TV chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and James Martin, acclaimed food writer Jonathan Phang, Wahaca co-founder Thomasina Miers, zero-waste chef Max La Manna, Darjeeling Express owner Asma Khan and Michelin-star chef and ex-Vogue food editor Skye Gyngell.

‘We need to do all we can to make sure no young people are going hungry because of school closures. Olio’s #Cook4Kids initiative is making a massive difference, and the more support we can give them, the more kids are going to get the delicious, nourishing meals they so badly need.’

HUGH FEARNLEY-WHITTINGSHALL
Chef, campaigner, writer and broadcaster

How to share food with OLIO

To share, users simply snap a picture of their items and add them to OLIO. Neighbours then receive customised alerts and can request anything that takes their fancy.

Pick-up is arranged via private messaging within the app, and often takes place the same day. 50% of all food listings added to the app are requested in less than 1 hour.

80% of listings are food, but OLIO also has a non-food section where items such as toiletries, cosmetics, kitchen equipment, books, toys and clothes are also shared. All listings are added to OLIO are given away for free.

OLIO is available as a mobile app (iOS and Android) and a web app. Click here to download it.

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