FeedNHS has now been providing meals to hospitals for eight weeks and delivering up to 13,000 meals a day to 38 hospitals during this crisis. From all the feedback and messages we have received from the hospitals we know this has made a difference, it has meant teams don’t have to worry about where a meal will come from during their shift which would have otherwise been a real challenge with the restrictions of PPE, exhaustion of long shifts and many eateries being closed.
In total we have directly delivered or funded 460,000 meals to NHS staff. This is now coming to an end as we have allocated all of our fundraising and in agreement with the hospitals we are going to stop service from the end of this month and into early June. So we wanted to take the chance to reflect on the past few months and the amazing efforts of so many people and organisations.
FeedNHS was launched on Friday 27th March by actors Damian Lewis, Helen McCrory, John Vincent LEON ceo & co-founder and actor comedian Matt Lucas to help get the message out there about why this would make a difference to the heroic work of hospital and healthcare staff during the Covid crisis and we worked with the businesses of Feed our Frontline, brought together by Brandon Stephens of Tortilla, to serve the meals themselves. This group were led by representatives from Tossed, Haché, HOP Vietnamese and Dishoom with members who also served including Crussh, Farmer J, Franco Manca, Las Iguanas, PAUL Bakery, The Real Greek, Wasabi, Wrap It Up, The Diet Revolution and Zabardast, with fresh produce and top-quality provisions suppliers including Entremettier, The Mouthfull Trading Company, PrepWorld and Belu. The vast majority of these meals have been delivered for free by Deliveroo and there has also been some support in London from ecofleet cargo bike service. We have also gone on to support smaller independents across Wales with FeedtheNHSWales.
FeedNHS has supported meals to hospitals in Greater London, across Wales and in Birmingham, plus that we created a broader coalition early on with Mealforce and BaxterStorey has meant that by sharing contacts and learnings daily on an 11am conference call, we have all helped each other reach 102 hospitals in total, extending meals to the home counties, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen and serving over 1.5 million meals.
Alastair Storey, Noel Mahony, Jane Silber and John Ramsay have been instrumental within their own organisations and the coalition, week on week, and we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them.
As word travelled of our efforts, it attracted many more offers of support which we also worked to ensure people got the benefit of.
We have helped distribute 48 boxes of Who Gives a Crap toilet roll across the London Ambulance service depots, as the beautifully individual wrapped rolls are ideal to for staff to pick up and take home. Quality donations from Good & Proper Tea, Pip Organic drinks, Miko coffee and PAUL coffee cups which all helped fuel the staff at their depots, when they were in dire need of these basics. We have also supported the distribution of 40,000 Nature Valley bars from General Mills and 24,000 Barilla meals to hospitals across the country, generously donated by these businesses.
The co-ordination of FeedNHS has been led by Kirsty Saddler, supported by David McDonald seconded to the project from Bain. Countless teams have been part of organising this, running the kitchens and preparing the meals. We are so grateful for everyone’s work.
With £1.4million raised, through the generosity of more than 25,000 members of the public, helped by Damian, Helen and John’s amazing efforts to publicize the appeal and Matt’s joyous Thank you Baked Potato song, book and toy, we have now allocated the majority of our funds. Despite this phase ending, if we are contacted by a hospital that would really benefit from free meals for their staff, because of a second spike in July which some are forecasting, then we will endeavour to offer any support we can. So while we see this phase coming to an end, we want to stay responsive to where the need might be, just as we were when we started this campaign at the end of March. Our email is [email protected]
Meantime we would like to thank all of the hospitals’ administrative and logistics teams for supporting this service, those who donated and helped make it possible and to all those from the food industry who kept supply chains running and kitchens active. We would also like to personally thank the UCLH Charity team, CEO Philip Brading, charitable giving director Carol Haraldsson and finance director Jo Webb, who worked so professionally and efficiently as our charity partner in making this possible by transferring all funds to the hospitals we served to cover the cost of the meals. As well as the most important people in all this, the NHS staff.