LONDON - A British-Moroccan entrepreneur is doing Morocco proud in London by helping feed thousands of hungry Londoners this Christmas.
Hicham Haidar, who was born and bred in Morocco and emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1998 to pursue his business studies, is taking part in “Food for London Now” appeal launched by British newspaper the Evening Standard with his six food trucks.
“Hospitality and generosity run in our blood and come naturally. As Moroccans we stand by each other and share from one to another. You can take the Moroccan out of Morocco but you can't take the Morocco out of the Moroccan,” Haidar, the owner of Food Truck Masters, told Middle East Online.
Haidar answered the Evening Standard’s call although his business had been hit hard by the economic crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My business has been heavily impacted by the pandemic like all others but we had to improvise. The Together19 collective was our response to the pandemic. It's amazing what you can achieve when you surround yourself with good people, magic happens. God provided as we did good,” said Haidar.
“We managed to build a fleet of mobile catering units or Food Trucks and we went out to join forces with various charity organisations and food banks,” he told Middle East Online.
“We also signed various contracts with landowners and landlords across London to support the hospitality sector and unemployment,” he added.
Haidar said that they had been blessed to get many celebrities endorsing their campaign from TV celebrities, professional footballers to renowned chefs.
“I would love to invite, involve and see more Moroccans coming to support us. I think we will look back a year from now, maybe ten years from now and those individuals, leaders, brands and companies that did the right thing in these dark times will be rewarded with a sense of loyalty, hearth and soul,” said the 42-year-old entrepreneur.
Plenty of celebrities have joined the appeal during the coronavirus pandemic, including Emma Corrin, the British actress who plays Princess Diana in the hit TV series “The Crown.”
Haidar said that he had no plans of stopping his humanitarian action in the short run.
“What we are doing today makes sense and should be the bone structure of any society. The pandemic had opened our eyes on recognising many existing and future problems that we are facing,” he said.
Scores of volunteers and businesses are asking to join this noble action at a time when thousands of Londoners have been made redundant because of the pandemic.
“The UK has voted for Brexit but it's amazing to see that people from mixed backgrounds are standing under one roof preparing food to serve Londoners,” said Haidar.
The British-Moroccan entrepreneur launched the “Together 19” street vendor initiative to help traders overcome the financial hardship and bolster the sense of community.
“We have today access to over 200 trading sites across London which will shortly be accommodating street vendors and small business owners once London opens up for business,” said Haidar.
He reached out to various organisations to employ the youth coming out of correctional institutions and prisons in addition to associations that support immigrants.
Haidar called on entrepreneurs, celebrities and public institutions to work hand-in-hand in order to carry on this humanitarian action and expand it across the United Kingdom in the long run.