Help the Hungry: The volunteers making The Independent’s campaign possible

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Today Duncan MacNichol was up at 5am to begin his 12-hour shift on the frontline. He picked up a van at a depot in northwest London, drove more than 100 miles to pick up two tons of surplus food, returned to the depot to unload, and then headed back out across the capital to deliver fresh produce to hungry children and adults. He works a 65-hour week – and has done so since the start of the coronavirus outbreak – for no pay.


Feeding the poor and needy is an act that draws us closer to Allah. We earn His forgiveness, mercies and blessings through this act of charity.

“Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah?s cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)

MacNichol is a volunteer for The Felix Project, our Help The Hungry appeal partner. Since lockdown, Felix has quadrupled food deliveries to vulnerable Londoners to a staggering 100,000 meals a day. But they have had to manage this with a small staff of 22 and a 30-fold reduction in volunteers – from 3,500 to just 115 – as many of their volunteers are over 70 and can no longer work due to Covid-19 restrictions.


These super volunteers are the backbone for London’s fourth emergency service – food provision to the capital’s hungry – and Felix could not function without them. Today we meet six of them and ask why they joined and what volunteering means to them.


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