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On Christmas Day in 1988, a group of friends got together to cook and deliver a Christmas lunch to their friends who were very ill with HIV/AIDS. This act of love and support was the foundation of The Food Chain. Thirty-five years later, the services that this charity provides are needed as much now as they were then. They receive no public funding, so QX has asked The Food Chain to tell us about the vital work that they do and what we can do to lend a hand this Christmas.

– The Food Chain – 

By the time World AIDS Day comes around on December 1st, Christmas is usually well underway. We are surrounded by messaging that it is a joyful time when we are surrounded by friends, family, food and gifts. For many, this message falls very short of their Christmas reality. 

At The Food Chain, 74% of our Service Users live alone. Isolation and an absence of community is something we see regularly with those we meet, and for those people, the prospect of Christmas is far from as appealing as we’re all told it should be. 

Each Christmas, The Food Chain tries to combat this. We were founded on Christmas Day back in 1988 when friends got together to cook and deliver a Christmas lunch to their friends who were very ill with HIV/AIDS. It was a simple gesture of support and friendship during some of the worst years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They found then what we now know so well – that a good meal is often so much more than food. Food can bring people together, create connection, build warmth and demonstrate care. At a time in the year when isolation can feel particularly acute, these things are all the more valuable.

Christmas at The Food Chain

On December 25th, we open our doors to up to 50 Service Users who have been with us through the year and who we know would otherwise be spending Christmas Day alone. We hope that by providing a friendly, relaxed and nurturing environment, we can ensure that our Christmas can be a joyful experience. We sing carols, play games (pass the parcel always ends in carnage), and most importantly, sit down to a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Service Users leave us with a wrapped gift and a bag of groceries to last them through to the New Year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a community that The Food Chain is so proud to be a part of. 

We regret that our services are needed in 2023 just as they were in 1988, but while they are, we will do all we can to provide. As a small charity with no public funding, we rely on the generosity of individual donors for a significant part of our income. If you would like to support us this Christmas, there are lots of ways you can lend a hand!

Volunteer at The Food Chain

Send a Gift

At the end of our Christmas Day lunch, we like to send each Service User home with a wrapped Christmas present – often the only one they receive. This is where we need the help of generous people! We are looking for people to be our Food Chain Santas – to buy presents to the maximum value of £10 and have them sent to The Food Chain to be wrapped and put under the Christmas tree. View Santa’s Gift List here.

Volunteer

As there is no public transport on Christmas Day, our Service Users can only join us if we have enough generous volunteer drivers to pick them up in the morning and drop them home again after lunch. If you would like to join our team and bring cheer to others this Christmas, we’d love to hear from you!

Christmas Food Chain parcel

Donate

The winter months always see an increase in the need for our services. Thanks to the dedication of over 150 trained volunteers who help us deliver our vital services, a donation to The Food Chain goes a long way: 

  • £10 pays for two tailored meals at Eating Together
  • £50 buys one grocery delivery
  • £100 buys enough formula milk for a parent to feed their baby for 2 months.

For thirty-five years, The Food Chain has held strong to the idea that food brings people together. As we celebrate our 35th birthday this December 25th, we gratefully remember everyone who has supported The Food Chain over the years: the founders, donors, staff, Service Users, trustees, friends, partners, sponsors and, of course, the hundreds of Food Chain volunteers. 

Happy Christmas from us all at The Food Chain.

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