A guest post by Florence Opara:
Earlier this year Rotaract Club of Canary Wharf decided upon the “Bites of London” 4 course recipe/ dinner kit booklet as a different and creative way to fundraise. We wished to provide a fundraising project that went outside of the Rotary community and to open up the idea of Rotary to new people. In addition, all the members of the club are from different countries far and wide but what we all had in common was London and a interest in different cuisines.
We decided to bring that all together in the form of our flap booklet. Now I know it was hard to visualise when I first heard the concept but remember those children books in which you pull out sections and unveil different things? This is the grown-up cooking equivalent. But instead of secret messages, you get bags of secret spices corresponding to a place and recipe!
We chose to support our local East London community and straightaway homelessness came to mind. But we chose to focus on the hidden homeless- those “out of sight in bed and breakfasts, squats, on the floors or sofas of friends and families or sleeping rough. This means that they are all too often invisible to the public and so, despite meeting the legal definition of homelessness, are often not regarded as a priority for decision makers.” (http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/about-hidden-homelessness.html) Therefore we chose Thames Reach- Employment Academy and FoodCycle as our charities. They match our aims as one helps help with training and skills while the other focuses on sustainable eating and cooking.
The project put us on a steep learning curve- we learnt how to create and manage a project on a large scale giving us many skills needed to run a small business. The project was not a small feat considering that we are a group of career minded, mid-twenties individuals based in East London with various backgrounds and careers. It took a lot of enthusiasm, determination and creativity at our meetings every Tuesday to get this off the ground.
And it was not without challenges. Choosing the initial cuisine proved difficult. Originally we thought worldwide cuisine but how could we put such different ideas into a coherent project? Who would we target? Finally traditional British Food was chosen as it was a way to learn more about our home away from home.
With all that behind us we are proud to announce that “Bites of London” is available for purchase on our website. Profits will go to our nominated charities and raise awareness of what they are doing to prevent the cycle of a life of homelessness.
Please visit our site, read more about us and help us spread the word!
Florence Opara bio: A born and bred Londoner working in the City as an Account Manager. In my spare time I’m still exploring both abroad and the city I was born in, giving back where possible, writing and eating. Find me on LinkedIn.
Rotaract is a non-political and non-sectarian organisation and welcomes members from all backgrounds regardless of race, gender or religious beliefs. It is an international service and leadership organisation for men & women aged 18 – 30. Rotaract club of Canary Wharf was re-established in early 2012 and is currently the only Rotaract club serving East London.