Almost 300 meals handed out to NHS staff in an hour at Yorkshire hospital

A group of Yorkshire have pulled together in the wake of the coronavirus crisis to provide free meals for NHS staff.

Food4Heroes was launched on March 24 by Amanda Guest, of Guest Dining, and her brother, John Brownhill, who hopes to roll it out across the UK.

Just four days later a team of volunteers were handing out 300 freshly prepared meals to staff at Huddersfield Infirmary to keep them going through their long hard shifts on hospital wards.

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Ready-made tubs of cottage pie and vegan chilli were given out to staff who could heat them up on a break or take them home.

Volunteers ready to hand out the meals. Credit: Food4Heroes

The inspiration for the idea came from the plight of Yorkshire nurse Dawn Bilborough, whose video went viral when she filmed her reaction after facing empty shelves after finishing a long shift.

Mrs Guest, who has been in catering for 35 years, said businesses from around Yorkshire had banded together for the NHS, despite them losing work themselves.

Join our new coronavirus Facebook group for the latest confirmed news and advice as soon as we get it www.facebook.com/groups/yorkshirecoronavirusThe team had originally planned to spend four hours in the car park at Huddersfield Infirmary handing out the meals, but said almost all of the 300 meals they had prepared had been snapped up in the space of an hour.

She said: "The staff have been amazing and have been so grateful. We had to go onto the ICU unit to take some meals up there because the staff couldn't come down to see us.

"The food has been made by chefs from businesses around Huddersfield and we have got two more chefs who are going to help out for two days next week, so the menu will change.

"We have asked for feedback from the staff to see what they would like us to do in future."

So far, Food4Heroes has been supported by chefs such as Ben Franco of The Barn in Almondbury, Andrew Bradley from Bradley’s Outside Catering, as well as other businesses like Marshalls Direct and AJ’s in Lindley.

But Mrs Guest added: "We need more chefs to support us and we need donations.

“When we spoke to our local NHS fundraising team they said that local people had been amazingly supportive by providing food and meals but this had to stop due to the restrictions. Our timing appeared to work well.

“However we want to be able to roll out this model across the NHS if it is needed so Kirklees has been used as a model for rolling this out to other NHS Trusts.”

To support Food4Heroes, visit www.food4heroes.co.uk