A county-wide mission to feed the hungry and vulnerable of Gloucestershire is rapidly growing momentum. In less than three weeks, the Feeding the 5,000 project has provided more than 5,000 meals to the most vulnerable people and NHS staff since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Led by The Long Table, a social enterprise, and supported by the Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Rachel Treweek and the wider Diocese of Gloucester, the project’s vision is to provide nutritious, home-cooked food to those most in need across Gloucestershire. An army of volunteer chefs, delivery drivers and administrators have been mobilised to tackle the urgent problem of people being unable to access healthy food during this crisis.
Bishop Rachel said: “We knew with the thousands of people having to self-isolate and the huge financial strain this would place on families and foodbanks that providing free, healthy food delivered to people’s doors would be a vital service. These meals complement basic food packages and ensure people are eating nutritious food.
“It’s been a privilege to also support the NHS. We have provided freezers in three of our county hospitals and stocked them with meals so our doctors and nurses have home-cooked meals available to them, hopefully sustaining them through the many hours they are having to work. My thanks and gratitude go to all the front-line staff at this time.”
This project was started by The Long Table in Stroud. They bring people together through food and run a bakery, kitchen, shop, and a dining space. They quickly adapted their services to cook and deliver meals to those self-isolating. As they are part of the Diocese of Gloucester, we joined forces to provide the service across all of Gloucestershire.
The Long Table’s co-founder Tom Herbert said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by people’s generosity in helping us to feed our community. The fact that we have provided over 5,000 meals already is mind boggling and we’re only just getting started. We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped make it possible, especially the kitchens that have come on board. You are all heroes.”
To keep up with demand we have partnered with cafes and universities across the county who have opened up their kitchens and provided chefs to cook the food for distribution. With this extra capacity it has meant we have been able to support charities to not only keep their businesses open but to feed their clients. The service is open to everyone, and for those that can pay for their meals, their money has helped to ﬁnance free meals for those in most need.
Bishop Rachel said: “I have been amazed at how much has been achieved in such a short space of time and my immense thanks go to everyone at The Long Table, all our partner kitchens and worshipping communities who have come together to make this happen. It is a great witness to the sharing of the hope and love of Jesus Christ and serving our neighbours faithfully.”
Generous donations from people have enabled this project to happen, so we are grateful for all donations. If you would like to give please visit our donation page –https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/12553#!/DonationDetails