Dishoom donates over 10 million meals for children

Dishoom has today announced that it has now donated over 10 million meals through their ‘meal for a meal’ charity partnership with Magic Breakfast and Akshaya Patra.

Since 2015, for every meal served, the Dishoom team have donated a meal to a child in the UK or India that might otherwise go hungry – a ‘meal for a meal’. This commitment began during Ramadan as Dishoom’s act of charity (‘zakat’) and was made permanent at Diwali the same year.

Dishoom are delighted to have now reached the 10 million meal milestone with their long-term charity partners, Magic Breakfast and Akshaya Patra. Both charities provide nutritious free meals to school children, ensuring they arrive in the classroom with full bellies and enquiring minds, helping to end food poverty as a barrier to education. Dishoom cares deeply about breaking down these barriers, which tragically remain a very real and ever-present problem in the UK and India.

Since making their ‘meal for a meal’ commitment, for every breakfast served in Dishoom’s cafe´s, the team have donated a meal via Magic Breakfast, and for every meal served at lunch and later, they’ve donated a meal through Akshaya Patra. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, Dishoom were donating over 2.5 million meals a year through their charity partners.

When the restaurants closed their doors in March 2020 in response to coronavirus, the Dishoom team quickly turned their minds to finding ways to support their team, protect the business, and provide much-needed support to the children and families provided for by Magic Breakfast and Akshaya Patra.

With the restaurants closed, Dishoom quickly dreamt up a delivery service, providing a way to have cafe´ favourites dishoomed to the doors of guests. They made the same ‘meal for a meal’ commitment that had been in place in the cafe´s since 2015, donating a meal through Akshaya Patra for every meal served for enjoyment at home.

By June 2020, Dishoom had launched their first at-home meal kit, providing all the ingredients (and know-how) needed to create their iconic Bacon Naan Rolls in the comfort of one’s own kitchen. For each Bacon (or Vegan Sausage) Naan Roll Kit sold they donate a meal via Magic Breakfast.

.By providing free, nutritious breakfasts without stigma or barrier to school children in the UK, Magic Breakfast ensure pupils have the energy needed to make the most out of their morning lessons, so that all children can reach their full

Coronavirus has only made the tragic levels of child poverty in the UK worse. As of January 2021, Magic Breakfast has welcomed more than 500 new schools to their family. This means they have doubled the number of schools they are working with and tripled the number of children they are reaching, compared to 2020. Magic Breakfast now works with over 1,000 schools in England and Scotland, offering a healthy breakfast to around 170,000 children every school day.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, as many as 1.8 million school age children in the UK were at risk of hunger in the morning. For the past 20 years, Magic Breakfast has worked tirelessly to ensure that no child in their partner schools is too hungry to learn. A hungry child cannot concentrate in the classroom, which has a long-term impact on educational attainment and social mobility.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic Magic Breakfast has continued to support schools, adapting their in-school breakfast provision model and working with schools to offer take-home packs, as well as home deliveries for vulnerable or hard-to-reach children through their partnership with Amazon. This ensures children at risk of hunger continue to have access to a nutritious breakfast regardless of school closures.

Akshaya Patra work with over 19,000 state schools across India, supporting over 1.8 million children. During the pandemic, in states where schools are open, Akshaya Patra have continued to operate their midday meal programme, providing hot, nutritious lunches to school children.

Where schools have closed owing to the pandemic, Akshaya Patra have been distributing ‘Happiness Packs’ to families, which contain a mix of food, learning materials and sanitary products. Each pack contains enough to feed a family of four two meals a day for up to a month, ensuring children still have access to the food and materials needed to continue their education.

Despite much opening-and-closing of cafe´s in the past twelve months, Dishoom are delighted to have donated over 1,225,000 meals to their charity partners in 2020, with almost 250,000 meals donated through their at-home offerings alone.

Outside the pandemic, Dishoom marks such milestones with team celebrations, connecting the restaurants with local communities and providing opportunities for the team to meet the children their work supports.

Each year, Dishoom hosts a Magic Breakfast takeover in their cafe´s, inviting children from the charity’s partner schools to enjoy a healthy Dishoom breakfast, to enjoy educational activities and hands-on cookery classes.

Dishoom also runs a Bombay Bootcamp each year, taking all team members who have been with the company for five years to visit Bombay with Dishoom’s Founders and Executive Chef.

The team are taken on a tour of Dishoom’s most-loved places in the city, eating at the remaining Irani cafe´s, taking in the sights, and (most importantly!) visiting the Akshaya Patra kitchens, before serving lunch at some of the schools that the foundation supports through their midday meals programme.