As vendors closed their doors to respect government guidelines on social distancing, the not-for-profit social enterprise ‘Open Kitchens’ identified a real need to support at-risk individuals who cannot get outside to secure provisions during self-isolation.
Supported by local businesses, ‘Open Kitchens’ hopes to empower the community’s food industry to cook up and donate free meals to vulnerable people in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
The scheme also invites people to support the cause by sponsoring meals (£1.85 per meal) through its online JustGiving page.
Residents living at the YMCA in Worksop, which provides safe accommodation for homeless young people (aged 18 to 35) in Bridge Street, have already enjoyed 30 donated meals cooked up by Nottingham-based restaurant Yamas, with Worksop restaurants now being encouraged to sign up and join the fight.
Dave Southgate, lead tenancy support officer at YMCA’s Worksop branch, collected the meals from the charity’s hostel in Nottingham city centre, before delivering them to residents in Worksop.
Meals are packaged as individual portions that can be frozen to last longer, which reduces the financial and health risks involved when residents need to leave the accommodation to shop during this trying period.
Nick Clements, housing operations manager at Nottinghamshire YMCA, said: “It is heart-warming to see true human compassion shining through these difficult times and we are deeply grateful to ‘Open Kitchens’ for its incredible support.
“Rebuilding your life after homelessness is a life challenge in itself but when money is tight and are not able to leave your home, the reassurance of knowing that people care enough to ensure you won’t go hungry is indescribably important.
“If you are a local restaurant or an individual who can sponsor a meal – you can help this scheme to support even more local people. We can get through this pandemic if we pull together.”
Register your restaurant or sponsor a meal by supporting restaurants at openkitchens.co.uk.