The Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and The Worshipful The Mayor of Barnet Councillor Alison Cornelius attended the Official Launch of The Giving Kitchen at the offices of Jewish Futures, in north London, on 17 November 2021.
Over 50 guests – volunteers, donors, VIPs and community leaders – attended the lunchtime occasion, and were delighted to come together to celebrate this milestone in the history of GIFT, one of the most-loved Jewish charities in the UK.
Guests relished the opportunity to sample this week’s Giving Kitchen meal. The Chief Rabbi noted its delicious flavours and asked if he could be added to the list of recipients!
Michelle Barnett MBE, Founding Director of GIFT, says: ‘We were thrilled to welcome so many special guests into GIFT today, and to celebrate the ongoing and wonderful support of our team of volunteers. GIFT exists to create a community engaged, supported and empowered by the gift of giving; The Giving Kitchen epitomises all that we endeavor to do, helping those in our community in need while enabling our volunteers to make a real difference.’
Lauren Fried, a GIFT supporter who has set up food-based community projects and whose drive and dedication helped to establish The Giving Kitchen, says: ‘I am so thrilled with how The Giving Kitchen has already evolved since its early days, and is now nourishing so many members of our community each week. Food builds bridges; it has the power to transform and is a tool for change.’
The Chief Rabbi said: ‘Thank you for giving me inspiration, I attend so many events but this is one which is extraordinary and extra special. I can just feel such a wonderful sensation of giving which you also receive in turn, which is certainly at the heart of all the activities here.’
A recipient of the weekly meals says: ‘Not only are the meals so helpful, life-saving, delicious; but we love seeing the volunteers as we are house-bound and have little contact with the outside world. We have had meals on wheels in the past, but the meals from The Giving Kitchen are on a different level, so delicious and beautifully presented. I am an elderly disabled man and my wife has serious dementia. Thank you for changing our lives.’
About The Giving Kitchen
The Giving Kitchen provides a weekly hot meal to over 130 people. It was born out of COVID, when there was an urgent need to support vulnerable people who were old, ill, or suffering from severe mental health issues, and therefore physically unable to prepare their own meals. GIFT was inundated with requests for help, and many of the charity’s volunteers stepped up to give their time and money.
Working closely with GIFT’s Michelle Barnett and Roxanne Stross, the team sprung into action to set up an 8-week pilot programme, which was a resounding success.
Now, GIFT’s dedicated volunteers show up to GIFT HQ every Wednesday to wash, peel, chop, cook, pack and deliver the soup and meals. The trays of food are diligently filled with tasty portions of nutritious food, as they form a production line outside the kitchen. There are ambitious plans to expand the venture for 2022.
GIFT’s vision is a community engaged, supported and empowered by the gift of giving. GIFT does this by inspiring and enabling lifelong giving. For more information, please visit www.jgift.org.
[For more information about GIFT, or to volunteer for The Giving Kitchen, please email us at email@example.com]