Teenagers make an ImpACT with their 22,000th meal for people in food poverty

Project ImpACT has just opened its new kitchen


Project ImpACT volunteers make their 22,000th meal in their new kitchen (Photo: Project ImpACT)

A Jewish social action youth project has celebrated making its 22,000th meal for people living in food poverty, including for members of the Muslim community breaking the fast during Ramadan.

Project ImPACT, which saw teenagers from 28 schools come together on Sunday to open its new kitchen in north-west London, meets weekly to make meals from surplus food for local food banks and homeless shelters.

Marcin Nocek, operations manager for Together in Barnet, told the pupils that Sunday’s meals would be delivered to their winter night shelter and that this month, “the food has a double meaning because it’s going to be served as lunch boxes for those homeless people who work and for our Muslim guests who observe Ramadan, as a meal to break their fast”.

He added: “It’s incredible how Project ImpACT’s Jewish teens provide healthy meals for those in need and supporting our clients from all faiths.”

According to the Mayor’s Fund for London, one in six children and one in five adults in London experience food insecurity, which is defined as not having enough food to meet one’s basic needs.

The teenage volunteers also heard from Marilyn, a client of Together in Barnet’s night shelter, who said: “I want to commend you on the wonderful work you are doing. You are indeed making a great impact on us homeless people. I have been using the night shelter for four weeks and have been street homeless since last November.

“Being homeless, we all need to have proper food because we are on the move all the time and the food you provide for us is the energy to keep us moving and to help keep us warm. It's amazing to see young people with such a good heart and humanitarian heart.”

All the meals prepared by Project ImpACT are vegetarian and are made from surplus food provided by The Felix Trust and Barnet Food Hub.

Speaking at the event, the Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis said that the volunteers were “an inspiration” to the community.

Calling Project ImpACT “one of the most wonderful opportunities that exists for young Jewish people in Britain today”, he told the volunteers: “When you give selflessly to others, you make a positive impact on their lives and also on your own.”

Research carried out by Project ImpACT has found that 91 per cent of its teenage volunteers felt that volunteering had positively affected their emotional wellbeing.

Alex from Highgate School said: “Volunteering makes me feel like what I do has meaning. Even though it can be hard sometimes, doing it together with friends makes it fun, and seeing the impact we have just makes it all worth it.”

Heidi, a pupil at South Hampstead High, said after Sunday’s cooking session: “It’s been such a great, lively evening, bursting with people. It’s been so inspirational to hear from a homeless person and know the impact of what we are doing here.”

Since 2020, the award-winning charity has developed long-standing partnerships with over 30 charities and participants’ volunteering hours can be put towards the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Founder and director of Project ImpACT, Chayli Fehler said on Sunday: “We are proud of everything that Project ImpACT has achieved and are delighted to have reached this incredible milestone. Our volunteers are the driving force behind the ImpACT Youth Kitchen. Their enthusiasm, dedication, and desire to make a positive impact is inspiring.”

“Our vision is for all Jewish teenagers to be actively involved in social action and

volunteering as part of their journey into adulthood, contributing to their community and beyond. ”

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