Family meal box scheme extended across the capital
Over 100,000 meals are set to be delivered in partnership with a record number of local authorities this Easter holiday through a major extension of our Take & Make recipe box scheme.
Taking inspiration from the recipe kit box phenomenon – Hello Fresh and Mindful Chef – and designed in direct response to Covid-19, every Take & Make box contains fresh ingredients and step by step instructions on how to make a healthy vegetarian dish for a family of four, along with important skill training cards and online video tutorials starring young Londoners.
This Easter, local authorities in Bexley, Camden, Greenwich, Haringey, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Sutton and Westminster have all arranged for Take & Make boxes to be distributed in their borough by local community groups for families to take home and cook with their children.
Kirsty McHugh, Chief Executive, Mayor’s Fund for London, said: “It is scandalous that children and families are still struggling to access good healthy food. I’m therefore delighted that our Take & Make boxes are being rolled out across London in partnership with so many local authorities. As the pandemic continues, the need for all children to be able to access high quality cooked food remains imperative and one we will not ignore until the issues are solved at national level.”
Councillor Matt Morrow, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Greenwich said: “I am delighted that we are offering these fantastic Take & Make boxes this Easter. We know that times are really tough for a lot of families in our borough and we are committed to helping where we can. These boxes will go some way to alleviating the pressure that some parents feel when school is out. It is a fantastic way to encourage young people into the kitchen to cook with their families and I can’t wait to see they rustle up.”
The Kitchen Social programme has been working hand in hand with independent company Dealmaker who help to source and package the Take & Make boxes. Suraj Thakrar, Account Manager, Dealmaker said: “We’re very proud to be the fulfilment partner of the Take & Make initiative with the Mayor’s Fund for London. With children spending more time at home, we’re pleased to play a role in the development of life skills through food education. The recipes are varied in nutrition, cuisine and skill and offer participants multiple learning opportunities. It’s been a real pleasure to hear how delighted the children are to uncover their ingredients, and that the boxes mean families are cooking together more regularly and trying out new, healthy recipes.”
Take & Make boxes can be funded by organisations that want to partner with the Mayor’s Fund for London and are available to order by local authorities. The series currently includes recipes for: Chilli Non Carne, Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry, Spicy Beanburgers & Avocado Salsa, Sweetcorn Fritters, Mango Salsa & Sweet Potato Wedges, Peppery Pasta Pangrattato and Cocoa & Pear Cake. Further recipes will be made available later this year.
Feedback from families who have already received Take & Make boxes include:
“Thank you for the recent help that me and my mother received from you. We received a box full of food, like fruits, vegetables and more, which is a big help for us given the current situation. I know a lot of other people who received it are grateful too. God bless you all and give you more opportunities to keep helping.”
“Loved these veggie recipes. We eat far too much meat and chicken. Can’t believe our cake turned out amazing and soft! I’m not much of a baker but I helped my girls with the cake and it was lovely!”
“We will be definitely making the chickpea and sweet potato curry dish again and again!”
“It saved us money definitely. Two meals and a dessert I didn’t have to worry about for the week. Also, love the meat free ideas, my family needs to eat more veggie meals.”
“Thank you so much, I have been struggling a bit financially lately and these take and make boxes have been a life saver! Thank you!”
In 2019, the Greater London Authority estimated that 400,000 children aged 16 or under were in food insecurity. This figure is likely to be far higher because of rising unemployment and loss of self-employment income as a result of the pandemic. Of this, roughly half do not qualify for free school meals or other government support. London child poverty rates are now 39% (800,000 children) – this is the highest of any UK region. In a survey with families taking part in our Kitchen Social programme, 75% have reported having less money for food
Since 2017, the Mayor’s Fund for London Kitchen Social programme has been the biggest provider of food and activities to young Londoners at risk of food insecurity, outside of term time. The charity has been coordinating emergency relief efforts since the beginning of Covid-19 within its own food provision network and alongside other surplus food charities. In 2020 alone, the programme delivered close to 360,000 meals for approx. 23,000 children. The Take & Make mechanism further maximises support to children, young people and their families who are at risk of food insecurity – including to those without free school meals eligibility – particularly when children are outside of school during either school holidays or further lockdown scenarios. The initiative can be deployed rapidly across Greater London.
The Mayor’s Fund for London will continue to support local authorities to understand and build capacity to run provision in their own boroughs, based on learnings from the Kitchen Social programme and calls for an extension of free school meal eligibility and the introduction of funded holiday provision across the UK.