Whilst NHS staff across Wales battle to save as many lives as they can, in Cardiff a network of volunteers is ensuring that these key workers will be well fed.
All over the city, independent businesses are mobilising to drop off foodie care packages to lift the spirits of hardworking front-line medical staff.
Kevin McGuckian is the brains behind one of the initiatives, he is also the founder of artisan scotch egg company Holy Yolks.
After realising how seriously the Coronavirus crisis was likely to affect the NHS, Kevin was eager to do something to help to the staff bearing the brunt of the outbreak. Via Instagram, he began contacting other local independent food businesses (nicknamed his band of ‘indie-vengers’) to enlist help.
Between them, they delivered their first food parcels to Gwent Hospital on the 24th March 2020.
The parcels included some of Kevin’s handmade Holy Yolks scotch eggs, sandwiches made with bread from Pettigrew Bakery, Penylan Preserves, and cheese from Ty Caws; pizza and doughnuts from Dusty Knuckle Pizza; Glamorgan sausage bon-bons from Mr Croquewich; chocolate brownies from The Carrot Top Bakery; handmade fudge from Fwdge; soft drinks donated by Arcadian Brewing; Jones’ Crisps donated by Canna Deli, and coffee from Uncommon Ground.
Though unable to donate anything for the food parcels, staff from Penylan Pantry have been helping with food prep, and Corner Coffee sold off the last of their cakes to raise money for the collective to buy ingredients, packaging and fuel for the deliveries. This is what gave Kevin the idea to set up a Just Giving page.
He explained, “Independent food businesses across the city are under enormous pressure right now, with many of them facing an uncertain future and even struggling to make ends meet during the lockdown. But they still want to help and give their support for the NHS workers who are doing so much for us all.
By asking for public donations, we’ll be able to cover the cost of the ingredients that we’re using each week. This means that it doesn’t have to come out of the businesses’ pockets at a time when they’re already under so much financial strain.”
Kevin said, “Depending on how much we raise, we can get more staff on board to help with prep and cooking, and we can increase the number of deliveries and locations that we drop off to. We want to keep this going and get good food that is easy to eat on the go out to as many NHS workers as we can.”
Kevin also said that any money which might be left over at the end of the crisis will be used to purchase tinned foods to donate to local food banks.
To donate to the ‘indievengers’ fundraiser click here.
The Grazing Shed have also launched a fundraising campaign, called ‘feed the frontline’.
In order to support doctors, nurses, ambulance crews and all other employees in the medical services and let them focus on fighting the disease, they are offering them free meals from local restaurants.
Funded by donations from the public, they will send regular food parcels from local business to hardworking healthcare staff. So far, deliveries have come from Franks Hotdogs, Handlebar Barista, Bangkok Cafe and Magic Wrap.
You can read more about the campaign at www.feedthefrontline.co.uk.
To donate to ‘Feed the Front Line’ click here.
Finally, Kasim Ali, founder of Cardiff’s Waterloo Tea café, has launched a project that will be based at the Heath Sports and Social Club. The aim is to provide somewhere close to the Heath hospital where NHS workers can get some respite and a healthy, nutritious meal whilst the on-site cafés is closed down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Volunteers hope to raise enough money to serve 500 people a day, equating to 3,500 meals per week.
Kasim said: “Times are already very challenging and are likely to get worse. We all depend on NHS workers to care for us, our families, friends and colleagues.
“Through this project we aim to make a contribution to looking after those NHS staff on whom we rely so heavily. Whether you are a supplier, caterer, business or individual we would be very grateful for your help and support.”
To donate to Kasim’s Go Fund Me page, click here.
If you hear of any other fundraising / feed the NHS initiatives, please let me know and I’ll add the details here.