UNINICIO is a social gastronomy project created to support, train, educate and employ young people from vulnerable groups or at risk of social exclusion. Students are trained in the production of pre-prepared foods for restaurants and catering services. When normal businesses was suspended due to the pandemic, Uninicio donated its entire stock of pre-prepared meals to local charities feeding the vulnerable people within their communities. Recognising the urgent need for food was going to rise they pivoted their production and have been supplying 6,000 meals daily to vulnerable groups across Madrid on behalf of the Municipal Government and other charities at cost. In April they launched their own initiative to support 800 extremely vulnerable families. The support they are providing comprises of fortnightly food boxes packed with fresh produce, dry goods, hygiene products, pre-prepared meals and recipes related to the content of the boxes. In addition, each family is assigned a volunteer who is there to offer them support.
In April 2020, support from the Scheinberg Relief Fund enabled Uninicio to upgrade its infrastructure, more than doubling its capacity to provide and distribute food support to vulnerable communities across Madrid. Funding was also provided for twice monthly food boxes (fresh and non-perishable goods and hygiene items) to 850 vulnerable families in the southern part of Madrid for 6 months (May-October).
When the ‘Queremos #serutiles’ initiative could no longer be run out of the kitchens of the not yet open Four Seasons Madrid, the SRF partnered with UnInicio to continue the initiative. UnInicio produced 1,000 meals per day and distributed them to vulnerable communities across Madrid from July to November 2020. With the pandemic showing no sign of ending, a more sustainable approach to food security was adopted. Instead of providing 1,000 meals a day the Scheinberg Relief Fund funded twice monthly food boxes to 450 families, supporting over 2,250 individuals with fresh and non-perishable food to get them through the month.