Ilford caterer who donated food for homeless to close business
- Credit: Atmane Metsaha
An Ilford caterer who has donated surplus products for years to the homeless will close his business after struggling to weather the pandemic.
Atmane Metsaha, of Thompson Close, has run Tangerine Catering for 28 years, delivering sandwiches and serving functions around Redbridge, as well as supporting two day centres for the homeless.
The 56-year-old has now decided to close the business and look for alternative work after a “very hard period” for the catering industry.
“I haven’t got the energy anymore, I’m tired really,” said Atmane.
He explained that the company did almost no trade for eight months and that business did not pick up much even as the country opened up.
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He said: “When we went through Covid, it was very hard for the company. But even saying that, we always managed to give whatever we can to the homeless, always.”
Whatever food Atmane does not sell, he donates to day centres for rough sleepers and vulnerable adults.
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The caterer got involved through an employee who volunteered with the homeless.
He said that giving food made him feel “brilliant”, but added: “I don’t do it to get something, I just do it because it needs to be done, really.
“If everyone did their bit, there would be no hungry people on the streets.”
Sonia Lynch, manager at Welcome Centre, said: “We are really grateful to him because every time he brings sandwiches that’s something we can give to homeless people who come to the day centre.”
She explained that his donations allowed her clients to have greater choice than they would ordinarily have at a homeless centre.
“We owe him because instead of throwing that food away they’re going, 'let’s give it to people who need it,' ” Sonia said.
Before the pandemic, centre volunteers would pick up supplies from the company, but since March 2020, Atmane has delivered the food himself.
He also spent part of the pandemic delivering meals to NHS call centres.
His charitable efforts were recognised at the Mayor’s Awards 2020 where he won ‘best business contribution to the community’.