A‘mind-blowing’ effort providing thousands of local people in need with healthy and nutritious food has won the praise of premiership football player Joel Ward.

The CPFC right back visited the Palace Kitchen, which it’s just been confirmed will continue to feed families struggling throughout February, and helped prepare meals.

Since being launched last year, Palace Kitchen has delivered more than 27,000 meals, providing a lifeline to vulnerable individuals and families, including the elderly, those in emergency housing and the homeless. 

Club chefs prepare around 350 food parcels a day, four days a week, which are distributed by project partner City Harvest.

Joel said the operation was ‘mind blowing’ adding: “It shows the heart of people in the club and outside of the club who are willing to donate and give something to help others. It restores your faith in humanity. 

“It knocks you back a bit to see the scale of the need even in this local area.”

The Palace Kitchen was set up with funding from the club and individual shareholders, to cover the costs of purchasing fresh ingredients, preparing nutritious meals and safely packing and labelling them ready for collection and distribution.

Sarah, a local mother, was one of Palace Kitchen’s earliest recipients last spring, having lost her job at the start of lockdown whilst pregnant and with a two-year-old daughter at home. 

She said: “The food we get is lovely, I’m pregnant and I don’t have the energy to cook for the family, so the meals are amazing and they are delicious and healthy too. To know that Crystal Palace is providing for us is so nice and it’s such a great help for my family.”

More than £10,000 has since been raised through the generosity of Palace fans, who have donated through a JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/campaign/palacekitchen to help fund this amazing project.

Meals from the Palace Kitchen have been distributed to ten local charities and organisations identified by Croydon Council, including the Legacy Youth Zone, on Whitehorse Road which supports local families in poverty.

At the end of January Legacy reached a milestone of distributing 10,000 meals with its Big Love Kitchen Cares Project preparing daily hot meals.