Anthony Grice, owner of FIKA cafe in Liverpool, has been given a top award for his positive work to help those in need.
Since the first lockdown in March 2020, FIKA have been helping the community with food parcels and have now been awarded The UK Outreach Community Connectors Award.
The cafe was turned into a community hub during the multiple lockdowns and has delivered around nine hundred parcels each month.
Anthony Grice was the first person from Liverpool to have his name displayed across the BT Tower in London and commented about how proud he was: “I didn’t actually think of it like that at first, but now I think that it is something to be proud of, maybe put it on my gravestone.
“It’s such an iconic building and to get your name up there in lights is quite special.”
The community has come together to help FIKA with many schemes such as providing food parcels for the vulnerable, children with Christmas presents and even funded family Christmas meals.
Anthony added: “I got the award for a lot of things but mainly, it’s because of the food parcels that I started back in the first lockdown.
“With the panic buying, national food shortages and vulnerable people isolating, I turned to social media and said if anyone can get food items to me, we will identify those in need and deliver parcels to them.
“This was all before the government started sending the national care boxes to people and we had elderly people contacting us saying that they couldn’t get out or that they were scared to and had no food.”
Despite keeping deliveries to the South ends of Liverpool, FIKA were getting contacted from people outside of the city.
Anthony spoke about a woman from Canada contacting him: “One woman from Canada contacted us who said her mother lives by herself and that she is the only family member she’s got.
“She told us that she knows her mother cannot get out and asked us to deliver food to her regularly which I happily did.
“After this, it seemed to get worse and worse. Instead of people who were vulnerable and isolating contacting us, we had people who were out of work and in other situations that were heart-breaking to read.”
Not only have FIKA been delivering much-needed food parcels, they have also been spreading heaps of positivity: “We tried lifting people’s spirits up by writing positive messages on the board every day and then we did Christmas collections for children’s toys.
“We donated the majority of the toys to charities and told anyone struggling to buy their children stuff for Christmas to reach out.”
During the third lockdown, FIKA continued the food parcel campaign following the ‘embarrassment’ of the parcels people had received from the government.
Anthony said: “Marcus Rashford tweeted the first picture about how bad the boxes were and we said that anyone who received one of these embarrassments off the government will have it replaced by us.
“At this point, we had been in lockdown for almost 12 months so the amount of people still struggling was unbelievable.
“The amount of people contacting me was shocking and my mental health was terrible in the end due to the amount of negative stories I was reading.
“I had to stop the campaigns because it was taking over my life and my shop, and because I’ve done it for so long, it was draining me.”
Even though FIKA are no longer delivering parcels to people, Anthony Grice further commented on all the work he has done for the community over the last year: “It is the human thing to do to help people and if I have to do it again then I will.
“Helping people is the right thing to do and no-one should be going hungry.”