British businessmen, Ron Dennis CBE, has launched a not-for-profit initiative to feed thousands of critical NHS workers with meals over the next three months.
The nutritious and ready to eat meals will be made available free of charge to ICU teams, anaesthetic teams and A&E staff, who are unable to leave their clinical areas during their 12 hour shifts.
This service enables them to stay close to wards at all times without having to change out of protective clothing.
Delivering the initiative, called SalutetheNHS.org, has brought together a group of leading food, logistics, packaging and other specialists, and has mobilised a largescale, professional operation.
The goal is to serve 1 million meals to key frontline NHS workers over the next three months, both those working in hospitals and others who are infected and self-isolating at home.
The Dennis family is donating £1 million to seed fund the initiative through their Dream Chasing Foundation, which is a charity, alongside £500,000 in match-funding.
The Taylor Family Foundation has been the first to contribute to the match-fund with £50,000.
They have been supported by Absolute Taste, one of Britain’s largest catering groups with its state-of-the-art kitchen in Bicester, Oxfordshire, while logistic support is being provided by Yodel, the leading parcel delivery service.
Tesco will donate all the food and ingredients for the one million meals.
SalutetheNHS.org plans to begin delivering the free meals from tomorrow, Monday 6th April, starting at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
The following week deliveries will start at Great Ormond Street, the London children’s hospital, and from there the programme will roll out to Government targeted locations across the country.
Ron Dennis CBE, co-founder of SalutetheNHS.org, comments: “This is a time when all of us, individuals and businesses alike, need to stand up and be counted in the effort to combat COVID-19. We’re all in this together.
“I am delighted to be leading this initiative to help ensure that vital NHS workers have nutritious meals while they work every hour in this fight. It means they have one less thing to worry about. We have called this SalutetheNHS.org because I think we are all in awe of the work they are doing to save lives.
“I would like to thank Tesco, Absolute Taste, Yodel, Leeways, Domestic & General, Team Rubicon, Hunter Design, Withers and Maitland/AMO, for the enormous support they are giving. This is a huge logistical effort to build a major, professional food delivery operation almost from scratch in a week.
“I have been so impressed by the fantastic things we have achieved together so far, but we need support from others, as well as ongoing donations to keep this whole operation going.”
Ed Knox, Director of Business Management and International Operations, for Domestic and General, comments:“Domestic & General are used to operating a largescale appliance care business and our 1,700 Contact Centre agents continue to take a huge number of calls, now from their own homes.
“When Ron Dennis got in touch with us just a few days ago looking for a professional customer and client contact team, we were thrilled to dedicate some of our brilliant agents to this fantastic initiative. In under 48 hours we had set up the infrastructure and remotely trained agents to field a wide range of enquiries from individuals, businesses and charities.
“We’ve had some amazing offers to help, including a one-off donation of £50,000 and one company offering up a diamond ring for auction to raise funds. At D&G we harness agility, resilience and innovation every day to keep our customers’ worlds running, and now to support SaluteTheNHS too.”
SalutetheNHS.org is now calling for other supporters to donate or make a specific contribution as production grows, and is asking people to call the dedicated hotline on 0800 497 0797 or to visit the campaign’s Just Giving page.