National foodservice business, Brakes, teamed up with The Matthew Tree Project to bring some festive cheer to disadvantaged families and individuals in Knowle today (18 December).

Photograph: (l to r) Marc Thursby and Barrie Nash from Brakes, alongside Mark Goodway, CEO of The Matthew Tree Project

The initiative saw professional chefs from Brakes cooking up a Christmas meal in support of local charity The Matthew Tree Project.  The Brakes Food Truck was at Filwood Broadway from 11.30am to 1.30pm and served a Christmas-themed menu including:

•    Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
•    Warm crusty roll filled with Turkey Ballontine, Pigs in Blanket, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Roast Potato & Gravy
•    Homemade Quorn Roast with Honey Roasted Parsnip (vegetarian)

This is the latest stage in a partnership that has seen Brakes, which employs around 500 people at its Portbury depot, donate food, providing around 5,000 meals of the 8,000 meals that The Matthew Tree Project distributes each week.

Mark Goodway, CEO of The Matthew Tree Project, said: “While the vast majority of us look forward to the season of cheer and festivities, the sad reality is that, for so many, this Christmas will be overshadowed by misery, isolation and hunger.

“We are delighted that our partnership with Brakes provides hunger relief to so many individuals and families – not just for Christmas, but throughout the year.”

The Matthew Tree Project helps those in need by providing a week’s worth of food groceries, enough to feed the whole family, in exchange for a voucher from a referring agency (referrers include local schools, Citizen’s Advice, Children’s Centres, Health Centres, Council support services and over 90 others).

Barrie Nash, Brakes’ Environmental Manager based at its Portbury depot, who helped organise the event, said: “As a food business, we understand the role food can play in bringing communities together and, as a result, aim to leverage our experience in the food industry and our resources to help provide hunger relief in our communities.  It is an absolute privilege to support The Matthew Tree Project, a terrific organisation providing a much-needed service to several local areas across Bristol.”

Over the past year, The Matthew Tree Project has reported the number of people requiring its services has doubled and the organisation has struggled to increase food supplies to meet the growing need.  It has now called on other food businesses to follow Brakes’ lead and work with them to support vulnerable people.

Mark Goodway said: “Sadly the situation is getting worse for so many people which presents a massive challenge for us. We have never turned anyone away and this is only possible because of the dedication and compassion of the team, and the support we receive from our amazing partners like Brakes.

“This week we are delighted that Brakes sent its Food Truck to our Support Centre in Knowle to cook up a fabulous hot Christmas meal for our clients when they visit,” Goodway continued. “Being able to do things like this for our client group is so important – sprinkling a little bit of joy into what are often such challenging life situations plays a key role in helping to give people hope for a better tomorrow.”

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