We are Vital Meals, a London-based initiative, born from Covid-19 with the sole purpose of supporting our communities through good food & education. Our mission is simple and is made up of three key parts:
1- We cook and deliver free nutritious meals to anyone in need. Initially feeding just the elderly and those considered ‘high-risk’, Vital Meals has expanded to feed: people at risk/vulnerable, children, families, elderly, those on Universal Credit, single parent families & the homeless (plus anyone else in need).
2- We run cookery classes for children to arm them with confidence in a kitchen & the knowledge to cook healthy, nutritional meals for themselves & their families. We work with the Free School Meal Vouchers in mind and ensure that our weekly ingredient lists are never more than £15 (the max value of the voucher) so the children can learn to feed themselves without any additional costs to them or their families. We have a very heavy focus on health and nutrition as some of the boroughs we work within have the highest rate of child obesity in the country.
3 - We run a service called Parcel to Plate, where we collect ingredients from a members home and cook these ingredients into meals for them - despite Gov food parcels having come to an end, we continue to run this service as it is a crucial for those lacking the ability or equipment to cook in the kitchen.
We are a new venture, born on the 17th of March 2020, as an emergency response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Vital Meals was set up by Ayesha Pakravan-Ovey, who in 2019 launched The Plattery- a small scale catering business. As all of The Plattery’s business was cancelled due to Covid-19, Ayesha launched Vital Meals. We started our journey cooking just 10 meals a day from our Ayesha’s home in Battersea, and have quickly grown to providing over 1,000 meals a week - fast approaching 15,000 meals in total. Initially funded through Ayesha’s own pocket & profits from The Plattery, we were able to raise £26,000 on this Go Fund Me platform which enabled us to provide 12,000 meals. We now need your help again to raise further funds to allow us to continue to run Vital Meals!
Our newly launched cookery school has quickly become a key part of the Vital Meals offering & we need to continue to fundraise to ensure that children across out community can have access to food education without any financial worry. The feedback from the children has been truly amazing with one 14 year old boy telling us that he wishes to become a chef in the future and that this is the first time he has managed to cook properly to test out his dream. Many of the younger kids have asked us if they can cook with us everyday and they are just so willing to learn & try new things, including vegetables! Naturally, we have a very heavy focus on health & teaching the children balance in their meals and how to use alternatives to sugar/frying/white carbs etc.
Through our work with Vital Meas, we became acutely aware of the fact that people were hungry and struggling with food access pre-Covid. Many have come to rely on our food as their main (and at times) only source of food. With the gov food parcels now having coming to an end, and the ongoing uncertainty around Covid, many in our community are still suffering financially, medically or emotionally. Figures recently released (11/08/20) note that over 750,000 people have lost their jobs due to Covid and many of these people will struggle to put food on the table for their families. We want to help. We have fed a young man who had not eaten a hot meal in 2 weeks, a lady just out of hospital from a major surgery, unable to cook for herself, a man who had eaten nothing in 4 days and have had community members tell us how they have had to face impossible choices like choosing between putting food on the table or having electricity for the night. It is these stories and many more, that are at the core of Vital Meals and continue to drive it forward for the benefit of our community.
We provide 4 meals per person, per household so that everyone at home can have 4 good, nutritional meals a week. Our meals are made by chefs & are always healthy & balanced.
The money raised will go towards:
1,000 Meals a week
Cookery classes for 1,000 children
Salaries for the Vital Meals team
Containers & bags
- Caroline Phillips
- shahnaz pakravan
- Issy Tennant
- Joy Dobie
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