Jose Mourinho headed for the kitchen garden at the Tottenham Hotspur training centre to harvest fresh fruit and vegetables as he joined our mission to feed the vulnerable and lauded our Help the Hungry appeal.

The Spurs manager paid special tribute to the triumvirate – comprising our campaign partner The Felix Project, The Independent and Tottenham Hotspur – as a “great example” of “coming together to help beat Covid-19”.

When we launched our month-old appeal, we broke the news that the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London had become the first community hub to open as part of an ambitious pan-London initiative involving every local authority to distribute surplus food to people in need.

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Mourinho was loading his car with trays of freshly picked spinach, rainbow chard, rhubarb, chives, parsley and garlic as well as other seasonal produce.

He said: “Today I make my first delivery of produce from our kitchen garden to the giant food distribution hub in operation at our stadium. From here, fresh fruit and vegetables originally intended for our first team restaurant will instead go to feed some of the most vulnerable people within our community during this pandemic.”

He added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who is working extremely hard to ensure this vital food is reaching those most in need at this time – including The Felix Project and all involved with The Independent’s Help the Hungry appeal. This is a great example of how the people of this great city are coming together and I am proud to be playing my small part, with the help of my club.”

Last week, Mourinho recorded a short message, posted on our website today, during which he thanked the NHS frontline heroes, some of whom have been receiving food parcels from The Felix Project. He said: “I will be volunteering my time to help out in the garden and take this food to the stadium as we fight this pandemic together … I’d like to thank all our frontline heroes for the incredible work they are doing to keep us safe at this time.”

Mauricio Pochettino, Mourinho’s predecessor as Spurs manager, has also backed the appeal, saying: “Food charities please get in touch so we can help. No act of kindness, however small, is wasted.”

Our appeal has raised more than £3m for The Felix Project, which has scaled up to quadruple its daily food deliveries to the equivalent of an incredible 100,000 meals a day. This week The Independent pledged to raise £10m to address rising food poverty across the capital.

The Independent is encouraging readers to help groups that are trying to feed the hungry across the country – find out how you can help here. Follow this link to donate to our campaign in London, in partnership with the Evening Standard.

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