Support from Tesco Recognised at Eating Together
We were pleased to welcome colleagues from Tesco to our kitchen at Acorn House to experience our communal eating service, Eating Together.
Michael Kissman, UK Communications Director, and Beccy West, Corporate Responsibility Manager, were facilitators of the recent, very generous £20,000 donation which Tesco made to The Food Chain. We couldn’t think of many better ways of acknowledging Tesco’s generosity than to invite Michael and Beccy to Eating Together, where they were able to share a wholesome lunch with service users and sample one key way in which we support people living with HIV in London.
Although the donation was made in support of our grocery service, many people who receive groceries are encouraged - and regularly go on – to attend Eating Together and Eating Positively cookery classes in order to best complement their grocery provision.
One of our Patrons, the food writer and broadcaster Jay Rayner, was also present for lunch to recognise Tesco’s donation. Jay has been a regular visitor to Acorn House since he joined us as a Patron, and was particularly pleased to be part of a great atmosphere at his second Eating Together session. He said of the £20,000 donation: “I am delighted by the contribution Tesco has made to the Food Chain. The charity’s work provides a vital lifeline for its service users and it’s encouraging that such a major player in the world of food retail has recognised this with much needed funds.”
On the Eating Together menu was the ‘dish of the day’: Brazilian pork, sweet potato and black bean stew with green beans; an African/Afro-Caribbean option of jerk chicken, rice and vegetables; and delicious desserts in the form of apple, date and walnut slices and fresh fruit salad. Michael, Beccy and Jay tucked in to their chosen dish in the company of 16 service users and a team of our helpful volunteer hosts, cooks and kitchen assistants.
We run Eating Together on a weekly basis to combat isolation, providing service users with the opportunity to enjoy a nourishing two-course meal and to converse and share experiences with other people.
Stigma and discrimination related to HIV infection often leads to isolation for many people living with HIV. As people grow older, this isolation can be exacerbated. Moreover, social isolation is often linked with a poor diet and a lack of motivation to look after one’s health. We recently reported on the positive response we received over winter about the service, and as the weather warms for spring, Eating Together continues to go from strength to strength with high attendances and a consistently-strong volunteer effort. We’re looking forward to developing additional Eating Together sessions at weekends in the coming year.