It sometimes seems like there are only ever bad things happening in the world. The news is dominated by war, murder, violence and climate change catastrophes. In the UK we hear nothing but negative things about the economy, politics, mental health and young people.
Yet sometimes in all the doom and gloom there is good news, stories that fill you with hope and joy, of people doing amazing things to help others and I recently heard one that made me feel positive and gave me faith in young people.
It was about a food pantry in Stratford, for anyone who doesn't know a pantry is type of social supermarket. Members pay a fee – anywhere from £2 to £10 a week and for that they a get bag of shopping with a much higher value than the fee they paid. The money from members is then invested to buy more goods for the shop. This particular pantry was set up by a group of young people from Stratford Youth Zone, who wanted to make a difference in their community. They knew how many people were struggling and so chose to do something about it. They started the pantry in May 2023, and it now feeds around 70 people every week.
One in four regularly struggle to afford the feed their families
I heard about this story from The Felix Project – a charity I have supported for many years now. The Felix Project is London’s largest food rescue charity, they save edible food from going to waste and redistribute it to over 1,000 community groups and schools every week. Without them hundreds of services – like this one – would simply not be able to feed facing food insecurity.
The charity relies entirely on donations from people and businesses, one of the many corporate partners that support them is TP ICAP, for the past few years the financial services firm has invested in The Felix Project's schools and young people programme. It is also thanks to them that the youth pantry was able to get off the ground and that is why I am delighted to once again be attending this year’s ICAP Charity Day, which has raised over £160 million for good causes around the globe.
With the cost-of-living crisis continuing, the need is at an all-time high. The maelstrom of rising food and fuel prices and rent and mortgages rate increases has left millions of people struggling. Families are being forced to choose between heating and eating. The Felix Project recently surveyed over 2,000 working parents in London and found 1 in 4 regularly struggle to afford the feed their families, while 14 per cent of respondents have had to turn to a food bank in the past year for help. That equates to around 170,000 people in the capital in the same position, which is why it is vital those that can help and donate and that is why I am looking forward to getting involved in the ICAP charity day – I hope it will raise millions to support not just Felix but all those organisations working to make the world a better place.
David Morrissey is an actor