Dole fruit bowl

Dole Packaged Foods Europe has announced that it is supporting homeless charity St Mungo’s to donate 14,500 fruit bowls that will be distributed to some of the most vulnerable people in London.

The donation will be primarily given to over 1,000 homeless Londoners currently housed in temporary accommodation by hotels and would otherwise be sleeping rough or in emergency hubs.

The initiative, launched just three weeks ago, involves City Hall working with government and charity partners including St Mungo’s to block book rooms, allowing highly vulnerable people sleeping rough to follow government self-isolation guidelines.

According to the World Health Organisation, Covid-19 affects vulnerable people disproportionately. This group includes people who are homeless or have complex health needs.

People experiencing homelessness are at extreme risk from the Coronavirus outbreak, as they do not have the ability to self-isolate or socially distance themselves. In addition, rough sleepers are already at an increased risk due to underlying health conditions.

The remaining products will be sent to St Mungo’s most at-risk clients, to whom the charity will be distributing food parcels whilst they are required to self-isolate.

Through a series of donations and partnerships, Dole is aiming to help close the gap to access to healthy food in trying times. The company said that it had committed its resources, facilities, and social impact efforts for people to have access to the nutritious food they need right now.

“The Coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything we’ve faced in living memory,' said Isabelle Spindler, vice-president and managing director Europe for Dole. 'Dole is committed to finding ways we can help during this extremely difficult time, but we recognise that we can’t do this alone.

'As such, we’re proud to be supporting charities, public sector bodies and other private sector companies to help ensure that the most vulnerable people can access to high quality, healthy food throughout the lockdown period,' she added. We hope to be announcing further initiatives soon.”

Jay Hunt, head of partnerships at St Mungo’s, said: “St Mungo’s front line staff have been working round the clock to support over 1,000 vulnerable people in London from the streets and emergency shelters into hotels where they can self-isolate safely. Thank you so much to Dole for their generosity donating thousands of fruit bowls which will be distributed to these people as well as those in our other accommodation services.”