Wimbledon is keeping the club kitchen running during the COVID-19 crisis, with full-time chefs at the All England Club preparing 200 meals per day for distribution to needy local people.
The initiative was announced a month before the now-cancelled start of the grass-court major, due to have begun on July 1 but wiped out due to the worldwide health crisis.
Officials said the meals from the Wingfield Club kitchen would be handed out to locals in the boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth for the next three months.
The effort is being coordinated in collaboration with London’s City Harvest charity, with which Wimbledon has a longstanding association.
The Wimbledon Foundation – charity arm of the Grand Slam – has already donated funds which have provided around 1.5 million meals during Britain’s virus lockdown, officials said.
“Since the cancellation of The Championships, we have worked hard to make a difference to those in our local community and beyond as the long period of recovery from the coronavirus begins,’ Club CEO Richard Lewis said.
“Many groups across our communities are without access to proper food, and so, with no Championships to cook for, we have repurposed our Wingfield kitchen to provide 200 hot meals per day, which are being distributed across Merton and Wandsworth.
“We (are working) to play a small part in helping our community through this time of crisis.”
Charity officials estimate that almost a quarter of around around nine million Londoners cannot afford to eat, with figures unlikely to improve as unemployment from the virus pandemic continues to rise with the autumn ending of government furlough schemes.