Help The Food Chain deliver Christmas cheer to those living with HIV who are experiencing food poverty.

The Food Chain

Help The Food Chain deliver Christmas cheer to those living with HIV who are experiencing food poverty. 

This Christmas marks the 34th birthday of The Food Chain, a small community HIV charity which exists to ensure that everyone living with HIV in London can access the nutrition they need to get well and stay well to lead healthy and independent lives. 

The Food Chain is supporting some of London’s most vulnerable people and their families through a time of rising costs, physical and mental health inequalities and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of their referrals come directly from the NHS, from healthcare professionals who know that their patients are going without food to pay their gas bill, buy their child a winter coat, travel to medical appointments, and meet their rent. 

This Christmas, along with bringing 75 of their most isolated Service Users in for a Christmas lunch, The Food Chain will be delivering hampers of groceries to the homes of 114 people to make sure they and their families can eat well over the Christmas period. Each grocery hamper is worth £50 and is nutritionally tailored to suit their health needs, tastes and practical situation. 

Christmas deliveries make up only part of the services The Food Chain provides. Throughout the year, they deliver groceries to the homes of those experiencing food insecurity and complex health. Their HIV Specialist Dietitians give out comprehensive, personalised, holistic nutritional advice to every person referred.

The Food Chain run a twice-weekly meal service where isolated people can come together to share a meal, meet new people and be part of a community. They teach cookery and nutrition classes, supporting people to cook independently and take agency over their health.

Every single donation to The Food Chain, however small or large, will make a real difference to those in extreme need

They also work within a network of many other HIV and social support services, assisting people in accessing welfare advice, addressing housing insecurity, picking up new hobbies and building new social networks. In the last 12 months, The Food Chain has processed 485 referrals for 766 people and sent out 2,090 grocery hampers.

Particularly during these difficult times, health and social care referrers frequently express gratitude for The Food Chain’s services. In the words of one: “Thank you for the swift response to my client. I spoke to him on Monday, and my goodness, what a transformation in his voice compared to the time I spoke to him before the referral. He is very thankful for the support. He asked me to thank you all, that it has made such a big difference and improved his anxiety and despair knowing there was food for him to eat.”

The Food Chain
The Food Chain

And in the words of one Service User: “‘Please know that this has helped me in so many ways, from being homeless, with nothing, to now help and support. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for every part of The Food Chain. You are truly a part of my newfound strength and determination to be “me” again.” 

Siobhán Lanigan, Chief Executive of The Food Chain, explains to QX:

“The winter pressures are piling up for people right now. Increased food costs, rising energy bills and a reduction in welfare payments all mean that individuals and families struggle to buy essential food to meet their daily needs. Add the extra demands of Christmas, and it becomes impossible for so many.

With no statutory funding, donations from the public are vital in helping The Food Chain provide essential support during the winter months. Every single donation, however small or large, will make a real difference to those in extreme need”. 

The Food Chain is gratefully accepting donations through their website www.foodchain.org.uk or you can text REDRIBBON to 70460 to donate £2.

Thank you.

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