One of the many ongoing charitable causes our traders support on a daily basis is The Breakfast Club at Holy Trinity Church, Clapham Common.
Originally a Food Bank, which featured an extensive fruit and vegetable stall and also supplied dried and canned goods, the reshaped project has been set up to offer guests tea, coffee and toast as well as eggs and pastries. It retains the free fruit and veg stall and, says one of the organisers Janie Yang, the stall has always been a major draw.
“It encourages those on low incomes, whose children have free school meals, and the homeless, to collect lovely fresh produce for their families. There is always a very good offering of fruit and vegetables that can be eaten raw - which is useful for those with no cooking facilities,” she adds.
“The Club is very well attended and offers a welcoming and safe place to meet friends and also to be listened to. “We started looking after 12 families and now 170 people come each week. Most have at least one child, but many have 3-4 children so it is pleasing to know they are getting fresh healthy food, and nothing is going to waste.”
Many problems are resolved and guests feel they can have helpful, impartial advice on all sorts of things from housing to help looking for jobs. More than anything, they feel that someone is on their side and they are therefore not alone.
“We have Church donations and government funding to buy some staple goods at wholesale prices,” says Janie. “Then we rely enormously on a few very empathetic and generous New Covent Garden Market traders, to sort out produce that is not suitable for their customers , slightly past its sell by date but perfectly useable. We trim it and display it beautifully and in a small way prevent a good deal of waste. Our clients are really delighted when they see what is on offer and it is uplifting for them to feel we all care and that things that may be unaffordable are given with such generosity.
“Here are some of our heroes from the Market:
We buy some produce from Alan at Mealmaker and from Lay’s of Chelsea. This is at wholesale prices and frankly it puts the largest supermarket to shame profiting out of Meal tokens. Our guys in the market also very generously give us any excess produce that has been rejected by the chefs of the restaurants they supply. Once we had Portobello mushrooms that were too big for the burger buns!
Other donators are Paul from Yes Chef, Damian from Life on the Veg, Simon at Greenfield Mushrooms and also Gary and Paul from Gilgrove who are especially generous with fruit. We are especially grateful to Alfie and Nick at Lay’s who always look out great produce for us, along with a few witticisms to cheer us in the early morning. We bring back all the crates and boxes to Lay’s or Mealmaker, where they are stored and re used - thus completing a second use cycle and avoiding the costs of recycling production and landfill.
“Even when times have been hard with little left over produce, our heroes at New Covent Garden have still very generously given us fresh produce that makes a huge difference to our guests’ lives. They really have been so warm hearted, kind and have all gone the extra mile to help people in need.