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MEC takes over North London stadium to cook for the Capital’s vulnerable
20/08/2015

Today 500 staff members of MEC will fill Allianz Park stadium, home of the Saracens, to cook and prepare meals to feed 5000 of the capital’s vulnerable people, through a large scale partnership with FareShare and Food@Work.

MEC’s ‘Knead and Feed’ project is the largest meal donation event in FareShare’s history. It has been designed by Food@Work and cultural consultancy Wonder, to bring the agency’s 500 staff together for a day of team work to create meals for FareShare’s London network of Community Food Members (CFMs). These include homeless shelters, women’s refuge centres, luncheon clubs for the elderly and children’s breakfast clubs.

Staff will create five nutritionally balanced meals – beef lasagne; Moroccan tagine; butternut, leek and goats cheese tarts; garlic and rosemary focaccia; apple and berry crumble – which will then be frozen for FareShare to store and distribute to its London-based CFMs.

The provision of healthy meals creates an important space for socialising among community groups and can provide a welcome environment for local people to access help and support. MEC’s Knead and Feed will give volunteers and employees at CFMs a break from cooking and other kitchen duties to focus on spending time with the people they help.

For the last eight years, MEC has used its summer agency away day as a way of retaining the collaborative and small entrepreneurial culture it had ten years ago, when it employed 120 staff. The company has since grown to over 500 people, across two locations in London and Manchester.

Last year the company partnered with ‘Farming For All’ to transform a large area of land into a fully working farm for people experiencing social or educational exclusion, completing the equivalent of two years full-time work in just one day. This year Wonder introduced Food@Work and FareShare, for its most ambitious project yet.

Paul Hutchison, deputy MD, MEC, said: “At MEC, we aren't about mouse mats and behaviours written on the wall; we are about living and experiencing our behaviours together. Rarely are we able to all get together and unite to deliver one project en masse, and we believe collaboration, rather than competition, drives growth for our people, our clients and our industry. We strongly believe in supporting the local community and our annual summer away day puts this into action. FareShare does fantastic work, and we wanted our most ambitious project ever to support as many organisations as possible.”

Rachel Ledwith, FareShare London Development Manager said: “The need for surplus food across London is greater than ever and it’s fantastic that MEC is helping to recognise the work of all those amazing organisations, many who are staffed mainly by volunteers, who work tirelessly to support those less fortunate in London.

“Fareshare’s volunteers are our lifeblood – we couldn’t get surplus food to over 200 London charities without them – and right now we need more, particularly drivers. So we hope that today’s event will really shine a spotlight on how rewarding being a volunteer at one of the thousands of community groups across the capital can be.”

Knead and Feed is a huge logistical undertaking and has been managed by Robinne Collie, MD of Food@Work, a company which specialises in team building through cooking . All Health and Safety aspects have been independently verified and the menus specially created by Food@Work’s expert chefs.

MEC takes over North London stadium to cook for the Capital’s vulnerable
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