Kindness Offensive hauls in 25 tonnes of food for refugees
By uel Cullen WEST End Lane was brought to a standstill last week as 25 tonnes of food were delivered to just one house. It was all part of a scheme cooked up by the Kindness Offensive, an organisation that arranges for large companies to donate food to n
By uel Cullen
WEST End Lane was brought to a standstill last week as 25 tonnes of food were delivered to just one house.
It was all part of a scheme cooked up by the Kindness Offensive, an organisation that arranges for large companies to donate food to needy food kitchens.
The anonymous company donated an estimated £200,000 worth of food to West Hampstead, which the big-hearted trio of David Goodfellow, Benny Crane and James Hunter stored in their bedrooms, kitchens and gardens at West Cottages.
"You've got no idea what 25 tonnes of food looks like until it's sitting in your living room," said Mr Goodfellow.
"The estate agents on West End Lane all took off their suits and changed into T-shirts and started helping to unload it. People were coming off the street to help. We brought the road to a complete standstill."
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Mr Goodfellow, 29, Benny Crane, 26, and James Hunter, 22, formed the Kindness Offensive six months ago when they met in Primrose Hill and discovered they shared the philosophy of talking to strangers and random acts of kindness.
They realised that as a group they could achieve a lot more. Together they would set up a table on Primrose Hill - which they dubbed the Table of Dreams - and stop people to ask them what they could do to help them.
"One father said he couldn't afford to put on an 11th birthday party for his son. We took them to see the Moscow State Circus, and then ice skating at Ally Pally."
Mr Goodfellow - who certainly appears to be living up to his name - and his team use a technique they call "phone whispering"; they telephone companies and convince them to fund one-off acts of kindness.
From one of these table of dreams encounters they came across a refugee from Darfur, and decided to help him by providing food to soup kitchens used by refugees and homeless people like him.
"It took us five and a half hours to unload the 25 tonnes of food, which included 27,500 cans. If you put the sweetcorn cans end to end you could get to a height four times that of the Eiffel Tower," said Mr Goodfellow.
"Various soup kitchens came to collect it - St James's Church in Muswell Hill and the Hari Krishna resource centre that feeds people in Kentish Town, Camden Town and King's Cross. All these soup kitchens rely on people giving contributions like this."
Mr Goodfellow and James Hunter are both freelance events co-ordinators who often run events for non-profit organisations, while Mr Crane is a musician.
Peter O'Grady, director of the Hari Krishna resource centre, said: "These are really super-good guys. They've loaded us up with amazing food.
"They've given us masses of cans of sweetcorn, tortillas and muesli bars. We have to cater for 800 people every day."