Open Kitchens: Sheffield businesses provide free meals to those in need during coronavirus outbreak

A brand new not-for-profit organisation has been launched with the support of numerous UK businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with a view to re-purposing closed restaurant kitchens across the nation to provide free nutritious meals to those in need.

With the restaurant and bar industry effectively closed while having the equipment and supplies that could otherwise go to waste, and with a recent BBC report highlighting the impact of the global pandemic on poverty, individuals that will benefit from the Open Kitchens initiative include key workers and anybody who is struggling to maintain a well-rounded diet as a result of physical isolation or financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Donations are needed to cover the essential running costs for each Open Kitchen with every £1.85 donated enough to provide a single, restaurant-quality meal. So far Sheffield-based businesses such as Tamper Coffee, Depot Bakery and FirePit Rocks (who are aiming to provide 12,000 free meals in total) have signed up to do their bit and the first deliveries in the city have gone out this week.

Rick Bailey, owner of FirePit Rocks, said of the scheme:  “Our staff and chefs are working voluntarily. We make nothing out of it – everything is given to provide high quality, nutritional meals.”

“Once the meals are prepared they are handed to our ‘Delivery Angels’ who drop them off around the community following strict health and safety guidelines.”

“I’d encourage any restaurant to join the scheme and help society’s most vulnerable if they’re in a position to do so in these unprecedented times.”

Donations can be made via the initiative’s central Just Giving page. Each restaurant will have their own Just Giving page created too, which can all be viewed via the map on £80,000 has been raised, 20 kitchens opened, and almost 40,000 free meals provided to date.


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