When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit last year, Alex Borley wanted to find a way to support the local community.

Alex Borley from BaxterStorey packing food boxes to donate to the local Shoreditch community.
Alex Borley from BaxterStorey packing food boxes.

As an Account Manager for BaxterStorey – a contract caterer with bases at Amazon offices across the UK – Alex and his team at Amazon’s UK head office in Shoreditch, London, stepped up with a plan to deliver free meals to residents across the borough of Hackney.

Led by Alex’s catering team, Amazon and BaxterStorey supported local charity Shoreditch Trust to deliver more than 120 free meals per week across an eight-week period.

“As a team, we feel like we’ve been fortunate throughout the pandemic to have stability and to always feel safe at work with Amazon,” Alex explains. “But we were aware that many people had been impacted, both financially and socially, and we wanted to do something to help those in our local community.”

“Amazon has a Leadership Principle of ‘invent and simplify’, which we took on board for this initiative. ”
Alex Borley, Account Manager, BaxterStorey

“As most people from the Amazon head office are working from home and therefore don’t require catering, we wanted to find a way to utilise the additional time and resources we had for good,” he adds. “Amazon has a Leadership Principle of ‘invent and simplify’, which we took on board for this initiative. We wanted to reinvent our offering and provide a service that helped others.”

“We know how important it is to have access to fresh, healthy food, so we wanted to help disadvantaged residents in Hackney by cooking and delivering meals to them during such a challenging time. The financial and logistical support from Amazon was integral in making this all possible.”

Alex and his team have prepared and sent meals in biodegradable boxes to Waterhouse Restaurant, a Shoreditch Trust social enterprise in Haggerston, Hackney, where they were distributed to those most in need – with a focus on young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“The meals are top quality and clearly made with a passion for creating fresh, nutritious and delicious dishes. ”
Amrit Bhachu, Head Chef, Waterhouse Restaurant (Shoreditch Trust)

“We enjoyed working with the team to devise these dishes, and our community volunteers were able to distribute the meals directly to residents across Hackney,” explains Amrit Bhachu, Head Chef, Waterhouse Restaurant. “The meals are top quality and clearly made with a passion for creating fresh, nutritious and delicious dishes.”

Food boxes at Waterhouse Restaurant on a counter ready for delivery.

These donations have expanded Amazon’s support for Shoreditch Trust to help those in challenging situations throughout the local area, which has included a cash donation after Darren Rix, Community Engagement Manager for Amazon, nominated the charity for support through the Amazon in the Community programme.

Jaimie Tapper, Deputy CEO of Shoreditch Trust, explains: “Preparing and delivering free meals has been a real Hackney effort over the last year. Local, national and international organisations have all donated funds, resources and supported our programme for Hackney. These donations have included ingredients, baked goods, and meals.”

“Support from Amazon was gratefully received,” Jaimie adds. “As a close neighbour it was very kind of them to give back to local communities and provide a donation as well as delivery support for eight weeks – helping us to get prepared meals direct to resident’s doors.”

Alex is keen to continue the partnership with Shoreditch Trust, supporting not only those from disadvantaged backgrounds but also those within the hospitality industry who have been impacted: “We want to go beyond simply ‘doing good’ and continue to make lasting differences in the local community,” Alex adds.

Find out more about Amazon in the Community