Two flatmates from West London are working together to deliver vital food supplies to the most vulnerable people during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Wayne Horo, 54, from Hammersmith runs his own food trends and insight consultancy called The HoroScoop.
He enlisted the help of his flatmate, Lukasz Fiedoruk, 29, who works as an Assistant General Manager at Brasserie Blanc Fulham Reach in Hammersmith.
The volunteer duo shared how “satisfying” it is to support charities that are delivering supplies to those who are most in need in the capital.
How and why did you get involved with the Felix Project?
Wayne said: “I started volunteering for Felix about a year ago. I have worked in the food industry all my career and I’m really passionate about sustainability issues and in particular about the amount of food waste that people throw out every year in the UK.
“I remember reading an article about The Felix Project and I thought what they’re doing really resonates with me. It’s a great way to give back.
“I roped Lukasz into helping me out during the lockdown.
“We were told we can’t have co-drivers when making the deliveries because of social distancing. But I have back issues and Lukasz is a lot younger than me so I thought it would be a good idea to ask him to help out.”
Lukasz added: “The Felix Project’s take on charity work is so fresh. I was glad to help a charity where you can clearly see where all of the donations and money goes.”
How have you seen demand change over the past six weeks?
Wayne said: “My normal route involved driving to Notting Hill and picking up the food from various outlets like Paul and then you make the drop-off.
But now we’re driving from the Park Royal depot and the food operation is on a much larger scale as the food is coming from different suppliers. Suddenly I was delivering food service products as opposed to retail products.
I remember the first drive in the lockdown felt really surreal because we were in tourist areas like Covent Garden and Soho but there was no one around. It was like being on a film set.
By the third or fourth week, we started delivering pre-prepared meals to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) from the Caring Foundation.
We went from delivering food to charities, to taking the ready-made meals into GOSH for NHS staff.
It just feels really satisfying to know we were doing something that is making a difference.”
Is there a single incident or moment or person who has helped who you think embodies what you have been trying to achieve?
Wayne said: “I think for me the highlight has been delivering to a charity I used to deliver tobefore the lockdown, and have continued to do since then.
“I used to see Simon and Keong from the St Mary of the Angels Church in Notting Hill every Friday night and all throughout the lockdown they’ve still been there, providing food for their charity day in and day out.
“They’re always so happy to see us and to receive the food. I think to myself I’m only doing this one or two afternoons a week and they’re doing this every single day.”
Lukasz added: “I feel the same way about the charity. It feels so good to be able to help them do their job.
“There’s a gap between delivering and preparing the food as it still needs to distributed to those who need it, and the charities fulfil that gap.
“To see the smile on their faces is really rewarding. It’s very heartwarming to be able to help them help others.”
You’re obviously doing a fantastic job but how much more is needed to help those in need?
Wayne said: “My biggest worry at the start [of the lockdown] was with the traditional means of surplus closed, how on earth were we going to be able to get food?
“But then the generosity of bigger companies and with the way Felix operates, everything has been able to continue. I think it’s absolutely outstanding.
“I hope that during the lockdown people will be able to get a better appreciation of how difficult it is for some to put food on the table. And equally as consumers we need to be more appreciative of the food that we have.
“I remember when everyone was panic buying and I kept thinking I hope all of that food isn’t going to go to waste.
“Felix has increased its capacity hugely during the lockdown but it wouldn’t it be great if they were able to get more delivery vans.
“I think there’s been a big up-take in people wanting to volunteer but the pinch point is the food isn’t going to get delivered if they don’t have enough vans.”
Lukasz added: “I think there are unlimited resources out there. I’ve worked in restaurants all my life and I’ve seen how much food can be wasted.
“I think help needs to come from organisations that have surplus rather than looking for new sources. Felix sees that surplus of food that will be wasted and puts it to good use.”
What would you say to anyone who is thinking of donating to the Food For London Now appeal?
Wayne said: “I would say donate now and continue donating if you can.
“We live in such an amazing city. People shouldn’t be going hungry, particularly the most vulnerable in our society. Either donate money or volunteer or find another way to get involved.”
Lukasz added: “I would ask people in the restaurant industry to go out and help. It doesn’t look like we will get back to work any time soon but at this time we can still do something to help. We should not be afraid to help others.”