I’ve learned to say no to anything on Wednesday evenings which may distract me from the all important task of preparing for the food stall at Covent Garden on Thursdays. I stick resolutely to this (almost!), but, last Wednesday was different. I was invited to the launch of Fight Hunger. Eat Out (an Action Against Hunger Campaign) at Konstam (my favourite lunch haunt last year). Restaurants Against Hunger was founded in 1998 – an international movement of restaurant owners, chefs and food writers supporting Action Against Hunger and its goal to end child hunger. I am very interested in this charity, they do great work and I was keen to know more. The sweetener was the fact that one of my favourite singers – Beth Orton – also a supporter of the cause, would be playing a set. How could I not go?
The evening started nicely with some fantastic and interesting canapes by Chef patron and Action Against Hunger ambassador Oliver Rowe with Bob & Roberta Smith. These included eggs with carrots replacing the yolks, and fantastic very thin pizzas, which, sadly I have no photo of. It was lovely to see a few familiar faces, and to meet a twitter buddy that I had never met in the flesh before. Supporter of the campaign, Fergus Henderson of St John, was in attendance. I was too shy to say hi, although he was extremely busy, everyone wanted to talk to him.
On to the meat and two veg of the evening, the campaign itself. An inspiring campaign, they were very careful to stress that their goal is extremely challenging, but are aiming to do what they can in a difficult area where few NGO’s fear to tread. Action Against Hunger works in over 40 countries to carry out innovative, lifesaving programmes in nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, health and advocacy. Every year, 6,000 aid workers help over 4 million people worldwide.
- Fergus Henderson & Oliver Rowe
Growing up in Ireland, we were ever aware of the problem of hunger in this world. Education was predominantly by the religious orders, and many of these teachers had spent time in the third world, so there was always a keen awareness of these issues. At home, if we left food on our plates, we were scolded for this, when so many children in this world had none. We raised money for third world charities in school campaigns, collected in Christmas campaigns for third world charities, delivering proceeds to the convent after. We even knitted vests for children with few clothes of their own when we were 9 years old. I really hope my baby lemon knitted baby vest I made was of use to someone! We did many sponsored 48 hour fasts, collected money over the lenten period for the third world that would normally have been spent on sweets, and every morning a money box in the shape of the globe would travel the school and we were all encouraged to add something ever day, even if it was just a penny.
Now, I was no saint. This kind of behaviour was entirely normal. Charity in Ireland is very strong and something that is widely encouraged and participated in. In recent years I’ve been lacking, preoccupied with my own concerns as many of us urban dwellers tend to be. So, this seemed like a good opportunity to participate.
I was impressed and inspired by what I had heard of the Fight Hunger, Eat Out campaign, and following on from a couple of conversations on the night, have started to arrange a blogger fundraiser to (hopefully) coincide with the campaign, and support their great work in some way and help get the word out.
Bloggers based in London, if you would like to get involved in our fundraising event, we will need a lot of participants and volunteers. I’ve had a fantastic response already which has been wonderful but we need more. If you are keen in getting involved please get in touch, and I will email you with details once they are confirmed.