1559. Edmund Aruofor
Edmund Aruofor, from Belfast, is the founder of ‘LifeHub NI’, a food bank specifically focused on providing fresh produce, as well as cupboard essentials, to those in need, and is today, for Christmas Day, providing over 300 Christmas dinners to vulnerable people in Belfast.
Edmund, originally from London, moved with his family to Belfast in 2015 to serve as missionaries among the local community, and set up ‘LifeHub NI’ in 2017 as a way of supporting vulnerable people in the city gain access to healthy food. Edmund runs the project entirely through volunteers, and drives over 14,000 miles a year to collect surplus food from supermarkets and suppliers across Northern Ireland which otherwise would go to waste. This year, in response to the pandemic, the hub’s work has greatly increased, with volunteers distributing over 400 food parcels a week to people who have been self-isolating. The hub has now moved into larger premises at Townsend Enterprise Park in order to carry out its operations, and have been supporting more than 4,000 people since March.
In a personal letter to Edmund, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Christmas Day will be different this year and so it is particularly special that you and your team of volunteers will spend today serving up hundreds of meals to those in need.
“I know you do this with no thought of recognition but let me thank you for the extraordinary way in which you have responded to this pandemic, bringing food, Christmas gifts and some much needed joy to those you help.
“The Christmas story is one of hope and renewal and you bring that hope to the people of Belfast with the care and compassion you have shown this year.”
“Not only has this taken me by surprise, I had no expectation of recognition. But in saying that, I am grateful that you have chosen us. THANK YOU for the recognition for something we do, because we see it is needed.”
Pictured below: volunteers with LifeHub NI helping to prepare and deliver food parcels across Belfast