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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
David Cohen and William Hosie

On the Breadline: £500,000 help from Sainsbury’s for appeal

Evgeny Lebedev distributes food at St Paul’s Cof E Primary in Whitechapel as our appeal gets underway

(Picture: Lucy Young)

Sainsbury’s has become the first big backer of our On the Breadline Christmas Appeal in partnership with Comic Relief with a £500,000 donation that will target food insecurity across the country.

It brings the total raised in two days to £1.5 million and follows the £1 million that Comic Relief pledged on Tuesday to help us tackle the cost-of-living crisis. The Sainsbury’s money will support the work of FareShare, Britain’s largest food redistribution charity, which supplies more than 9,000 frontline charities and community groups nationwide.

One of these beneficiaries, St Paul’s Primary School in Whitechapel, was visited by Lord Lebedev, proprietor of the Evening Standard, who helped deliver fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta and sauces, to their weekly food bank and who talked to parents and children about how they are being impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.

Lord Lebedev said: “On The Breadline is possibly the most important appeal we’ve ever run. As the UK braces for one of the toughest winters in several generations, it is critical that we all offer our support to those in need.”


Ten-year-old Amirah Khanom told Lord Lebedev that her favourite subject was science and how much she loved doing experiments. As Christmas approaches, Amirah’s peers will be asking for beginner lab kits, but she doesn’t feel she can. Her family has been hit hard by the escalating cost-of-living crisis, her mother said, and with a shy whisper, Amirah added that she’d be “happy with anything”.

Lord Lebedev had started his journey by helping to load food crates at an east London depot of The Felix Project — which runs FareShare’s London operation since the two food redistribution giants joined forces in 2020 “to tackle the unprecedented hunger crisis facing Londoners”.

Ruth Cranston, Sainsbury’s director of corporate responsibility and sustainability, said: “To help tackle food poverty this winter we’re supporting this appeal by donating half a million pounds to support our long-standing redistribution partner FareShare provide the equivalent of two million meals to those facing food insecurity across the UK. With challenging months ahead, we’re aware how difficult times are for many people up and down the country.”

Ms Cranston added: “We share a belief that everyone deserves access to nutritious food and know we have a responsibility to support the communities we serve. This winter we are launching our new community programme, Nourish the Nation, and will continue to work with Comic Relief and FareShare as we tackle food insecurity together.”

At St Paul’s Primary food donations from Felix and FareShare offer struggling families a lifeline. Amirah’s mother, Fahmida, told Lord Lebedev how she sometimes skips meals to make sure there is enough for her two daughters but that the food bank gave them a sense of plenty amid rising bills. “I’ll be able to make grilled broccoli for dinner alongside eggs and bread,” Fahmida said, smiling. “Breakfast will be whatever’s left over.”

A survey by The Felix Project revealed that four in 10 parents have skipped meals or not bought food for themselves to feed their children. Darren Rubin, the school’s executive head, said that thanks to Felix, the school also runs a breakfast club.

Charlotte Hill, CEO of The Felix Project, said that new organisations and schools were in touch every day asking for help. She added: “Support from campaigns like the On the Breadline appeal is vital to ensure we can be there to feed the growing numbers of Londoners who are at risk.”

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