Founder, Melanie with a stack of our aMAZIng Meal Kits ready to be delivered.
2 years since The MAZI Project officially began it’s mission to empower Bristol’s disadvantaged 16 – 25 year olds through food.
A lot has happened since, and in all honesty the growth and reception of this middle of the night idea was certainly unexpected to say the least. But, I am so grateful for the support and for the gift of doing what I love.
A little bit of backstory for you aMAZIng newbies:
It all came to be out of my frustration with our government following the exposed Free School Meal Scandal that saw food hampers, quoted to be worth £25 with half a carrot, white bread, pasta and basically ZERO nutritional value and of course, a financial value of less than £5.
Fuming, I decided to start a fundraiser to buy food vouchers for families in need. We quickly raised £1000 and provided over 20 families and single parents the chance to do a proper food shop.
The scandal and after speaking to many of the people receiving these vouchers, I realised that food poverty is so much more than not having access to enough food or even fresh/good food, it’s not having access to the dinner table, to the different cultures and stories flavours and ingredients can transport you to!
This inequality of access to something I have been lucky to grow up with, especially living in Athens a place where food is so central to our identity and culture just wasn’t good enough.
Realising this is something that was necessary and being on furlough from my job in documentary I decided to take this further . However, I felt I could have the most impact working with 16 – 25 year olds. As a 24 year old myself at the time and having worked with the vulnerable age group throughout uni it just made sense.
So, I believe it was 1am at night and not joking, I woke up and decided the best way to try and break this narrative is by physically delivering the ingredients/fresh food that I believe EVERYONE should have access to and getting marginalised groups into the space that I so deeply love in Bristol!
And that is how the foundation of what The MAZI Project would work towards began!
And f**ing hell have we done so much more than expected?!
- We have delivered over 10,300 single meals and 5000 aMAZing Meal Kits to 70 marginalised young people in Bristol.
- We moved into our OWN SPACE on North Street which we share with Kitchen By Kask. Mel is very excited about having her own cupboard!!
- We have welcomed Maisie Williams as an official ambassador who has also designed wonderful merchandise with drawings of her favorite food scenes in films she watched growing up!
- We began to grow the team and hired wonderful Lily as a part time Project Manager.
- We featured on BBC News, BBC Points West and on the front cover of Bristol Life.
- And finally, we hosted our first Winter Celebration event for our young people. We had henna, candle making and a DJ workshop with some delicious food cooked by Josh Eggleton, Ben from Bianchis and Salha, a sudanese refugee who you simply fall in love with.