King’s alum aims to provide a million free meals to key workers

One Million Meals calls for donations and volunteers

Momin Saqib, a King’s alum, former KCLSU President, and current King’s staff member, has organised a charitable network to provide healthy meals to key workers including doctors, nurses, police officers and others with key roles in the fight against Covid-19.

Saqib’s flight from Pakistan back to his London home was cancelled due to Covid-19, but he heard from friends working in the NHS that after working “gruelling and long” shifts working to save people suffering from Covid-19, they were often missing meals and going hungry.

This was because the options for buying food after their shifts were limited, with many food sources closing earlier than usual during the pandemic.

Within 48 hours, Saqib had mobilised a community of people, including many he first met while he was KCLSU President, in the ambitious charitable project One Million Meals, which he founded with his brother Bilal Bin Saqib, a London-based LSE alum, Tayyab Shafiq, a University College London alum and aspiring entrepreneur, Suleman Raza, an award-winning chef and Chief Executive of Spice Village Group, and Arif Anis, thought leader and author of I’MPOSSIBLE.

One Million Meals aims to provide free, daily nutritious meals to NHS staff and key workers fighting Covid-19.

One of the nutritious meals on offer

Saqib said “our key-workers are putting their lives on the line to protect us, but they can’t do this until they have been fed and provided with energy – a nutritious meal is the least we can do to help them through their day and to thank them for their services.”

Clinicians at Guys and St Thomas Hospitals receiving nutritious meals

Saqib added that his time at King’s “equipped me with the skills to turn the idea into a reality.”

King’s said, “King’s was founded in 1829 on the ambition to serve society. This ambition is more important than ever.

“King’s will work with Momin and his team to help strengthen One Million Meals over the coming weeks.”

Clinicians at St Thomas Hospital receiving healthy meals

Their all-volunteer team is identifying demand for meals from critical workplaces across the UK, who can sign up here, and arranges deliveries from participating restaurants, who can sign up here.

“We are signing up restaurants, food businesses and food platforms as the demand is coming from all over the UK”, Raza said, “so we are setting up local partnerships to reach all the corners.

“We don’t want to refuse any demand and that is where we need more hands to join us throughout the UK including corporate backers. It is heartening that Pakistani restaurants and businesses are generously joining the campaign.”

Anis said, “We are building networks through partnerships and collaborations with food providers, corporate, caterers and logistic companies.

“This is a very ambitious target and can’t be achieved single-handedly as probably this is the largest campaign of its kind in the UK right now in Covid-19 time so we are encouraging more hands from diverse industries to join us so we could do it together.”

Staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, receiving free meals to keep their energy up

In less than a week, One Million Meals has already provided over 5,000 meals to key workers in 33 hospitals, institutions and food banks.

Demand for their service has been “overwhelming.” The team want to help more key workers, and are calling for volunteers and donations to help them achieve their vision.

Shafiq said “so far, One Million Meals has been relying on our team’s resources and the amazing generosity of our sponsors to provide meals to key workers and frontline staff.

“However, to meet our increasing demand, we are reaching out to the public to help us bring food to the people keeping them safe and healthy, through the best food providers in the country.”

You can sign up to become a volunteer to help cook, package, drive or deliver meals here.

The healthy, nutritious meals cost £5 each, and you can donate on the One Million Meals website or via their GoFundMe campaign, which has raised £16,000 so far.

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