For the vulnerable, isolated and homeless, Christmas can be a difficult time of year. A staggering 1 million Britons will spend Christmas alone; while many others will rely on handouts from food banks to feed them and their families.
There are many organisations who have made it their mission to make the festive season more enjoyable for those who need it most. Refettorio Felix at St Cuthbert’s Centre in the Earls Court area of London strive to do more than just provide a Christmas lunch for their guests, who include rough sleepers, the homeless, older people and those with mental health issues.
They offer their Christmas guests a delicious multi-course feast and create a sense of celebration, making people feel warm and welcome, and filling them with friendship and Christmas cheer.
Refettorio Felix was launched at St Cuthbert’s Centre in June 2017, in collaboration with Food For Soul, a non-profit organisation founded by world-renowned chef Massimo Bottura, that fights food waste in support of social inclusion. It has created a new model of community kitchens, known as a ‘Refettorio’, that now exist in Italy, Rio de Janeiro, London and Paris. Each unique project shares the common themes of using food that may have otherwise gone to waste, working with designers to transform underused spaces, and serving high quality and nutritious dishes to vulnerable people.
They now operate a three-course lunch service to between 60-80 adults from Monday to Friday. The kitchen only uses surplus ingredients that would otherwise go to waste, delivered three times weekly by UK-based charity The Felix Project. Most of the produce is donated due to aesthetic reasons or because it is close to its sell-by date.
The style of the lunch service is designed to facilitate social inclusion. Sustainability is also an important part of the Refettorio’s design; for example proper tableware helps to ensure limited use of paper and plastic waste.
In 12 months, Refettorio Felix has saved 18,000 kg of surplus food from going to landfill., and 16,630 zero-waste meals have been served to the homeless, isolated and hungry.
Call to action!
It costs £10 to offer one guest a special festive experience including delicious food and drink, entertainment and gifts. Refettorio Felix rely on goodwill and donations from individuals such as yourselves. Consider giving a thoughtful gift this Christmas and donate to this project.