Food bank raises cash at dining function

As the cost of living crisis bites and queues grow longer, chefs find a new way to bring in funds

Friday, 27th May — By Charlotte Chambers

Lindsey Wylie Chantel Wong Ying Wang and Savvas Panas of Ringcross food bank

From left: Lindsey Wylie, Chantel Wong, Ying Wang and Savvas Panas of Ringcross Foodbank

A FOOD bank feeding over 1,000 people a week hosted their first ever private dining function last night (Thursday) – and hope it is the first of many as they move towards new ways of bringing in essential funds.

Organisers at Ringcross Foodbank in Lough Road, Holloway, described seeing an “exponential” rise in families in desperate need of free food with queues of more than 200 people snaking around their centre three times a week.

They said they needed to come up with new ways of supporting the rising number of people who need free food as inversely, just as the families on their books seem to continue rising, the number of people able to make donations continues to fall.

Ringcross has also started putting money aside to support those in emergency need of cash after they realised people coming to collect food were going home to sit in the dark, without electricity, and were unable to cook the food they had received. One client spends their entire pension on rent alone, with nothing left for anything else.

Yesterday evening Chantel Wong, chef and entrepreneur, was invited by Ringcross to cook a special three-course South East Asian menu to raise money as the cost of living crisis deepens.

Lindsey Wylie is the co-founder of the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation and mother of Alexandra, who died aged 17 in 2010 from an incurable form of cancer.

Ms Wylie has been working “seven days a week” running Ringcross with the Pilon Trust, to bring healthy food to those most in need. The cause was one close to the heart of her daughter, she said.

She added: “We are facing an enormous crisis in terms of funding and getting enough donations into the food bank. Things have really become much more difficult in 2022. At the beginning of the pandemic everyone was very generous and optimistic and there was this sense we would all work through it together and that it would be finite and we’d all come out the other side.

“[But] as the cost of living crisis worsens everybody is affected and it’s becoming much more difficult to fundraise and our clients numbers are increasing exponentially.”

Ms Wylie warned anybody could find themselves in the queue at a food bank, and cited the example of a client who told her he had a doctorate. She said: “When he was doing all that studying he never imagined he’d find himself lining himself up in a food bank to get enough food to feed himself. The pensioners – that’s sad as well. The people who worked all their life who did not expect after that to have to line up. We have one person whose entire pension goes on his rent.”

She also called on people to donate their time to charity – they currently need people to deliver food to those not able to come to the centre, as well as some light administration duties.

Ms Wong, the chef for the evening, cooked three courses including her sell-out pineapple tart – the most popular pastry on her food website, Momma Wong.

Describing why she came yesterday, after being involved in an auction for the charity last year, she said: “I think firstly it’s my passion for cooking – you can go to Malaysian restaurant to have a dining experience but I believe my cooking is more passionate with a lot of love, and not just about cutting costs. And secondly it’s a charity – [I am using my] talent to do something positive.”

The charity hoped to raise more than £3,000 last night and expect to run many similar events.

Related Articles