The Covid-19 pandemic brought a lot of hardship for many Nigerians, but it was particularly burdensome for those who were already living difficult lives on the margins of society, many of them surviving on daily earnings. The combination of the national lockdowns, followed by the general decrease in commercial and trading activity, has meant that their ability to earn an income has been devastatingly impacted.
Although a fledgling organization, the LGK Foundation felt there was an urgent need to try to alleviate some of the difficulties that were arising daily, and to take on some of the necessary action that could not be left to a Government that was already struggling alone with the medical impact and needs of the pandemic.
The initiative was launched through Opus Caritas, the Foundation’s charitable arm. The aim: to address the most pressing need; that of providing food to the most disadvantaged people across Lagos. At the start, food was distributed on a weekly basis, through food kitchens, churches, mosques and local police stations. To ensure that the Foundation was able to reach as many people as possible, it elected to provide a simple but hearty breakfast made up of a couple of cooked eggs, a loaf of bread and some fresh drinking water. It was quite a logistical feat to boil 2000 eggs, package the meals and distribute them in time for breakfast.
The Foundation quickly realised that it had neither the capacity nor the expertise to engage in this type of activity, and that it would need to hand the task over to people who had a demonstrated competence in this area if it were going properly to achieve its objectives. It teamed up, therefore, with Mr John Delano, a Lagos-based lawyer and renowned philanthropist, who gives much of his time to feeding and caring for the underprivileged and often homeless residents of Lagos Island. At the start of the pandemic, the Foundation noted that he was providing Covid care packages and food supplies to some people in the area and so it partnered with him to distribute some of its breakfast packages through his mission.
The LGK Foundation also provided meals, in partnership with TYKS Caterers, to the primary state-owned Infectious Diseases Hospital, based in Yaba, Lagos. 100 cooked meals were delivered three times a week to doctors and other essential workers at the Hospital until January 2021, when the rate of hospitalisations had dropped quite significantly in Lagos. Moreover, in partnership with ADS Foods a further 100 meals were delivered, again three times a week, to the Infectious Disease department of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) over the same period. ADS Foods also helped the Foundation to provide succour to vulnerable groups within identified communities, particularly women and children. Working with Law Enforcement Agencies, NGOs and Faith Based Organizations, 10,000 meals were distributed to 1000 families within and around Lagos.
In addition to this action in Lagos State, the Foundation also provided help to the two institutions that it supports through Opus Caritas. The Ijamido Children’s Home in Songo Ota (Ogun State), close to the country home of Chief G. K. Animashawun, recieved breakfast every Saturday for the over 150 children, almost 100 adults and 20 staff at the Home, and staple foods such as rice, beans, garri, pasta, fish etc were provided to the Home every month.
The Foundation also provided food and other essential provisions to the Atunda Olu School through Opus Caritas, in partnership with TYKS Caterers.
The LGK Foundation is committed to continuing and expanding its support to the underprivileged in Lagos society. It is open, therefore, to partnering with Organisations in both the public and private sector to ensure that Nigerians are able to enjoy one good meal a day, and to improve the quality of their lives in general. It is a huge task, but the Foundation remains true and committed to this objective, which Lucky G. K. pursued all his life.