Jonathon Childs is the owner of Norwich pub, the Garden House. The business has always had a keen interest in supporting local causes but with Covid-19 abruptly halting the hospitality sector, Jonathon has refocused his efforts from serving pints to serving the community. He’s making a real impact in reducing food poverty in the region.

From rallying donations from catering suppliers, utilising fridge space at Norwich City Football club and partnering with other local organisations, Jonathon is stepping up for vulnerable people across the county. He served over 4000 meals in January and has no intention of stopping there.

With an undeniable link between the increase in joblessness and food poverty, RecruitmentJunky is partnering with Jonathon to support people affected by Covid-19 as an an extension of our #GetHired initiative. We’ll be offering one on one CV support with our specialist head hunters for any one struggling to find work.

Jonny’s latest scheme, in conjunction with charity Lumi, seeks to step in where other services have failed. Jonathon’s ‘Jonny from the Bronx’ lunch boxes aims to support hungry children with nutritious meals and reduce food poverty in a time where parents are facing additional strain and financial pressure.

How did your ‘Jonny from the Bronx’ lunch boxes start and who are they aiming to support?

We started doing a free hot pizza lunch in response to some of the appalling lunch boxes that local parents had shown us. We realised that this was a big issue so we designed our “Johnny from the Bronx” lunch boxes, with help from “Only a Pavement Away”, Thomas Francks (Monty’s bakehouse) and Vestey’s.

We are trying to offer quality wholesome food, rather than half a mouldy apple wrapped in cling film which we’ve seen on social media of late. The food is easy to prepare and store, only the lattice meals need freezing. All the other items are ambient so are safe to remain at room temperature. We have worked with one of the local schools and sent them a good number of boxes.

Our support will be ongoing and we are extending the support to schools in rural Norfolk. The first of our rural boxes go out from Thursday 28th January. We have sent a large number of lattice meals, potatoes and rice to Great Yarmouth. This is intended to help a newly formed emergency food bank and we shall be topping them up this week.

How could individuals or businesses support or contribute to the work you’re doing with Lumi?

Individuals and businesses can support us by donating ambient food that we can add to the boxes. Alternatively, you could consider setting up a similar scheme in other areas of Norfolk. We’re happy to supply some ambient meals and frozen meals to help groups starting-up. Cash donations are also welcome if they let us know what food stuffs they want to contribute toward.

Donations can be dropped off at The Garden House; 1 Pembroke Rd, Norwich, NR2 3HD. Please contact us via the the Garden House Facebook page to arrange a Covid secure drop off.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing Norfolk communities amidst Covid-19?

I’m not decrying the official food banks but to access these are actually very difficult. People have struggle getting referrals to these food banks. They are not open at weekends and those in rural communities have issues getting to the food bank on public transport and carrying said food boxes back.

Rural deprivation in Norfolk is often hidden. Even though we are based in Norwich, we have people travel quite long distances to receive a food parcel. Work has to be done by the authorities and the voluntary sector to address this disparity or more people will suffer.

Some of the services people have shown us have been absolutely appalling. While lots of volunteer groups have really gone the extra mile to help and support those most in need. We would like to take the opportunity to thank the many local farmers who have donated tons of fresh produce to help alleviate hunger. At a later stage we plan to compile a list of all the generous donors who have enabled us to carry out our charitable work.

 

You can can follow Jonathon’s work and arrange to make donations through his Facebook page. If you’d like to get in touch and get a free review of your CV drop Kayleigh@recruitmentjunky.com an email, or feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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