How unused Christmas party funds can help tackle food poverty in Manchester

Foodinate wants local businesses and individuals to donate money they would've spent on Christmas parties to buy hot meals for those in need
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Manchester based not-for-profit social enterprise Foodinate is aiming to provide 20,000 meals for people experiencing food poverty over the festive season by asking individuals and companies to donate unused Christmas party budget.

The money that would have spent on Christmas parties can then be used to purchase hot, nourishing meals to people in crisis this winter.

Each meal is used as a tool to bring the recipient into a safe, warm environment where they can access services to help them find employment, housing and healthcare.

Ordinarily, Foodinate funds the hot meals through partnerships with hospitality venues across the city.

However, the closure of food and drink establishments due to COVID-19 Tier 3 restrictions has meant their usual income source has been lost.

Born in Manchester in 2016, the Foodinate initiative has won numerous awards for innovation, social impact and female-founded entrepreneurialism, has scaled to 12 cities across the UK, and has secured more than 150,000 meals for people in need.

The plea by Foodinate forms part of a new nationwide campaign, Xmas Party Heroes, which has been designed to encourage companies to donate any unused Christmas party funds to a charity of their choice.

Mark Hawthorn, CEO of investor Landmark Group who came up with the idea for the campaign, has donated £2k to Foodinate.

“Providing hot meals to people in a crisis in Manchester is an urgent cause,” says Mark.

“Businesses should always do what they can to help those in need locally, and we are happy to support the Foodinate team as they help out at this difficult time of year.”

Eager to help out, Paul Doherty, director of Euro Options, also donated their budget.

“Since our usual Christmas party isn’t possible this year it seemed entirely appropriate to help our community and spread a little festive cheer in a different way,” said Paul.

“Foodinate was an obvious choice as it helps to support those most deserving, in these challenging times, by providing meals for people experiencing food poverty.

“We would strongly encourage any company, in a similar position to us to do the same.”

2020 has been a difficult and challenging year for many, and sadly COVID-19 has hit disadvantaged communities the hardest, says Caroline Stevenson, Foodinate’s founder.

“The crisis is driving a huge rise in issues such as food poverty across Manchester and that’s resulted in additional pressure on local services,” says Caroline.

“Charities and social enterprises, such as Foodinate are in need of support more than ever, which is why we are launching this urgent appeal to help those in need this Christmas.”

Businesses and individuals can donate directly to Foodinate’s appeal online. For every £1 donated, one meal will be provided to a local person in need.

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