On Wednesday 12 December 2018, Leyton Orient First Team players, Charlie Lee and Matt Harrold visited Eat or Heat, a foodbank based in Walthamstow. The duo were joined by Danny Macklin, Chief Executive, Leyton Orient Football Club, Louise Stephens, Head of Communications for Leyton Orient Trust, and Howard Gould, Club Liaison Officer.
The Eat or Heat food bank is staffed entirely by volunteers, who between them gave up over 4,000 hours of their own time last year, to help people struggling to eat in our community.
In the past year, Eat or Heat food bank will have served almost 9,000 meals to people in the Waltham Forest community. In 2017/18 they saw a 21% increase in Children who are being forced to rely on food bank supplies in order to have anything to eat. As part of the visit the group were given a shopping challenge. The Club donated £100 to each team to buy food supplies. Matt Harrold was teamed up with Danny Macklin; Charlie Lee and Louise Stephens formed the other team. Teams were tasked to get the best value for money - thinking about buying ingredients for a balanced meal, including meat, vegetables and carbohydrates; whilst considering storing the food for potentially a few weeks. Danny and Matt were crowned the winning team as their final bill was closest to the £100 budget.
Matt Harrold, said: “This visit has been a real eye-opener, it’s made me think differently about how me and my family eat, and the wastage that sometimes happens. It’s sad to think so many families need support from food banks like Eat or Heat, especially over Christmas, but we’ve included some treats, like mince pies and biscuits, in the shop - so I hope the families will enjoy them.”
Charlie Lee, said: “I’ve heard a bit about food banks before, but didn’t really know how they actually worked. Today has been so interesting to learn about it all, and brilliant to meet Gary and Chris who work tirelessly, along with their volunteers, to make sure the local community are supported when they are most in need.”
On Saturday 22nd December, Eat or Heat volunteers will be at The Breyer Group Stadium to raise awareness and donations amongst the fans attending the Leyton Orient vs Chesterfield game.
Gary Nash, Founder, Eat or Heat, said: “The holidays are a particularly difficult time as children are home from school and more food needs to be found, leaving many people with the real choice of whether they heat their property, or provide food to eat for their family.”
“We believe no-one should be forced to make a choice like that in our community, and that is why, in association with our friends at Leyton Orient Football Club, we are asking for your help.”
Fans attending the match on 22nd December will be able to donate to Eat or Heat if they wish, alternatively you can donate online: www.eatorheat.org/cash-donation