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The BMJ appeal 2020-21: Independent Food Aid Network gives a voice to those determined to make a difference

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 02 December 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4664

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  1. Jane Feinmann, journalist
  1. London, UK
  1. jane{at}

The BMJ’s appeal this year will support the Independent Food Aid Network, a charity that has helped independent food banks and other community meal providers throughout the covid-19 pandemic, writes Jane Feinmann

The sight of a parent or guardian “standing on the doorstep with tears in their eyes, and the young person so happy that they seem to have food at last” is an everyday experience for Alexandra McMillan.

In June 2020, McMillan, who used to work as a personal trainer, set up the Legendary Community Club in Lewisham, a London borough where 37% of school children experience food insecurity. Since then, she has coordinated the distribution of more than 7500 lunches and 2200 food parcels to prevent children going hungry.

“I was volunteering at the local food bank while on furlough,” she recalls. “Someone mentioned that teachers at nearby schools were dipping into their own pockets to make sure their pupils didn’t go hungry. I saw there was a need and that I could do something.”

What helped, she says, was …

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