Saracens partner with Compassion London to help feed London’s needy

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Saracens is delighted to announce a partnership with charity Compassion London which will see its Allianz Park catering facilities used to help supply meals to frontline NHS staff, key workers and people in self-isolation during the covid-19 pandemic.

The charity, formed in March will have access to the stadium’s kitchens nine hours a day, seven days a week in order to cook nutritious and delicious meals for those in need in across the whole of London, including 12 hospitals. 

Led by chef Leon Aarts, Compassion London’s aim is to produce 10,000 meals a day from their Allianz Park base for NHS staff, homeless shelters, single households that are in dire need, the Jewish Volunteering Network, Grief encounters, Street Kids and many more.

A strong team of more than 100 volunteers including chefs, kitchen support, delivery drivers and business owners are among those involved and in addition to providing use of the stadiums facilities, the club has offered the use of club vehicles, such as the kit van, for deliveries, whilst several players attended on Wednesday so they could see the operation in action and provide some support to the volunteers.

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Compassion London came to work at Allianz Park when leading children’s food author Annabel Karmel approached Saracens owner Nigel Wray with the idea of using the stadium to support this fantastic effort. 

Compassion London cooked their first meals from the kitchens of the Yum Yum Food Company, a nursery catering business co-owned by Karmel, and as demand grew the search for a bigger premises was on.

Wray jumped at the opportunity to give back to the selfless NHS workers and the local community by allowing the charity space to grow their project and generate even larger numbers of meals for those who have been saving lives and risking their own to do so. 

Aarts commented:“Just weeks ago I woke up and thought about all these empty kitchens and chefs at home. What if we work together? We can feed everyone in London who needs it.

“So I started Compassion London, put a post on Facebook and on the 25th March we cooked 200 meals. Two weeks later we were cooking and delivering over 2,500 meals per day. Saracens allowing us to use their kitchens means we can now increase this to 10,000 meals per day made by chefs and delivered by volunteers. Our purpose is no one to bed hungry and together we can make that happen.”

Wray said: “Whilst there are no rugby matches or events to host, we have been looking for opportunities to use our stadium facilities to support those fighting this pandemic on the front line. So we were thrilled to be approached by Annabel about Compassion London. The hot meals prepared at Allianz Park will go directly to NHS staff in London’s hospitals and to other vulnerable people across our capital which is just fantastic.” 

Since they began cooking a month ago, Compassion London has cooked 60,000 meals for the needy. Saracens is proud to support their ambition to double that number as quickly as possible. 

If you would like to know more about the work of Compassion London, how to volunteer or how to donate directly to this great cause please visit www.compassionlondon.org.

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