COVID-19: How FoodClique, Noella provide rare leadership in feeding thousands of Nigerians
By Akinwale Obafemi
All through six gruesome weeks of COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria, even as Federal and State governments bungled the grinding task of sharing palliatives to the country’s most vulnerable masses, one strategic collaboration between non-government organisations (NGOs) stood out as it fed over 25,000 people across Lagos State and its immediate environs.
Leveraging on the expertise gained from 11 years of battling hunger through its community kitchen, free school meals, family meals and zero hunger programmes, FoodClique Support Initiative led by its CEO, Bolajoko Fadipe partnered with Noella Foundation led by Seyi Tinubu to distribute neatly packed edibles (dry cook-able foods) in print-branded brown cartons expertly despatched by tireless volunteers in buses, cars, motorbikes and bicycles to locations both near and far flung from the NGO’s operational base in Yaba, Lagos State. Their campaign is tagged “We are #strongertogether.”
The COVID-19 exploits of FoodClique and Noella Foundation in helping government combat hunger among the helpless, drew the attention of Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who commended the charity organisation via video conferencing in March 2020 with Fadipe. The FoodClique/Noella Foundation volunteers also got invited to the Lagos State Government House in April 2020 where they got the commendation of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu, his wife and his COVID-19 workforce.
In a media statement issued by Dr. Kunle Hamilton , FoodClique partner and communication consultant, and made available to Irohinoodua Fadipe explained how the FoodClique idea was born 11 years ago and the increasing strategic partnerships that have helped them fight hunger in the land, thanks to their teeming volunteers.
“On my birthday 11 years ago” Fadipe said, instead of rejoicing with friends, I felt a stronger urge to feed the poor and homeless and that’s exactly what I did. Fast forward to March 2020, at FoodClique, we were still contemplating our usual free community kitchen for the less privileged, until the realities of COVID-19 hit all of us.
“Our slogan at FoodClique is that hunger has a voice and with COVID-19, we heard hunger’s voice loud and clear. And we are grateful to God for the partnership of Noella Foundation chaired by Mr. Seyi Tinubu whose financial commitment and enormous goodwill extended our capacity to feed tens of thousands of vulnerable Nigerians.”
Speaking about the commitment of Noella Foundation to this humanitarian gesture, Seyi Tinubu said “It is our duty to give back to the society and I’m always hands on to help because I know the situation we are in right now is not an easy one, especially for business owners. But with our collective effort, we will achieve a lot more.”
Confident and excited, FoodClique CEO Fadipe concluded by saying, “We are grateful to God that after 11 years of our transparency and commitment to feeding the vulnerable in our society, a good number of organisations have teamed up with FoodClique to help us defeat hunger in our land.
“Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, we have been packing and distributing food boxes from the sanitized auditorium of CCC PraiseVille and ShaddaiVille Ministries at no cost. We could not have met the growing number of daily emergency boxes without our partners, donors, volunteers and Praiseville – a church hall, which has become a vital link in the distribution chain for our emergency food boxes for the vulnerable in the society. Indeed, we are stronger together and this is what must define us as Nigerians at this crucial time in our history.”
FoodClique and Noella Foundation food boxes got to communities like Spencer and Borno Way in Yaba, Makoko, Ebute Metta, Akoka, Iponri, Lagos Island, Bariga, Agege, Epe, Badagry, Ikorodu, Alimosho, Igando, Igbogbo, Festac, Oshodi, Ikotun, Ojuelegba, Surulere, Ijede, Ajah, Ojo and Iyana Ipaja among others