A team of social entrepreneurs from diverse nationalities is raising money to donate 1 million free meals to key workers helping to fight COVID-19 in the UK and David Beckham is applauding for them with a message of support saying ‘’@onemillionmeals is doing great work on getting nutritious and healthy meals to key-workers and healthcare staff.”
One Million Meals aims to provide key workers like NHS workers, police, school staff and firefighters with free, nutritious food during the COVID-19 crisis while raising funds through the general public and collaborating with food platforms, food chains and restaurants all over the UK.
The all-volunteer team at One Million Meals identifies demand from essential workplaces, and then arranges deliveries from participating restaurants to these workplaces. Each meal costs no more than £5 to provide and must be nutritious. In less than a week, One Million Meals has already provided 3,200 meals to key workers at various agencies and institutions, including staff at Croydon Metropolitan Police, Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Whipps Cross Hospital, Croydon University Hospital in London, Luton & Dunstable Hospital, Savernake Community Hospital in Marlborough and food banks in Southend-On-Sea.
One Million Meals was started by three social entrepreneurs – Bilal Bin Saqib, an LSE alumni, and Forbes 30 Under 30; Suleman Raza, an award winning chef and food-entrepreneur; and Arif Anis, corporate thought leader and author of I’MPOSSIBLE. The volunteer team has grown from 3 members to 11, overseen by an advisory board operating through Zoom and online platforms.
The best of foods is being sampled in the worst of times by the most besieged of heroes — all thanks to a group of Londoner friends who had the idea of helping both local restaurants that need customers, and health care workers who need nourishment during their long, stressful shifts.
The initiative is particularly helping isolated community hospitals like Savernake Hospital in Wiltshire that reached out to One Million Meals saying they would need daily meals as the local pub feeding them earlier had closed down while no canteen was open and the staff were unable to leave the during the shifts.
Arif Anis, the initiative’s co-founder said:
” When the news carried an impassioned play from a frontline NHS worker who had worked a 32 hours long shift then found the shelves empty in her local shops, this inspired us to act as we thought that the Thursday Claps are good but they are not enough.
We decided to call our initiative One Million Meals to set ourselves, and the public, an ambitious but essential goal. Our heroes in the NHS and on the front lines deserve a good, hot meal after a day of exhausting and dangerous work fighting the pandemic. Everyone has their part to play in this crisis; we might not be able to save lives ourselves, but we can provide our life-savers with the fuel they need to beat this.”
“So far, One Million Meals has been relying on our team’s resources and the amazing generosity of our sponsors to provide meals to key workers and frontline staff. We have now had over 25 hospitals express interest in our services. However, to meet our increasing demand, we are reaching out to the public to donate to the campaign to help us bring food to the people keeping them safe and healthy.”
Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and co-founder Bilal Bin Saqib said.
One Million Meals has currently raised over £11,000 of its initial £50,000 target in three days through a GoFundMe fundraiser. 100% of the money raised goes towards providing meals to key workers and frontline staff, and the initiative is overseen by a voluntary advisory board to provide oversight and maximise impact. Public and businesses are encouraged to donate generously to GoFundMe fundraiser: https://www.gofundme.com/f/s8egdn-one-million-meals
One Million Meals is signing up hospitals from London, Midlands, the North, Scotland and Wales through their website where hospital sig-up option is available. They have received ongoing demand from the following hospitals and counting: Queen Elizabeth Hospital , Woolwich, Whipps Cross Hospital , Leytonstone, Glenfield Hospital, Savernake Community Hospital Wiltshire, Good Hope Hospital, Coventry Hospital, Frimley Park Hospital, Watford General Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Birmingham City Hospital, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Kings Lynn Hospital Queen Elizabeth, Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, Epsom & St Helier Hospital, St Thomas Hospital, Lewisham university hospital, Royal Derby Hospital and Wexham Slough Hospital.
‘We are signing up restaurants, food businesses and food platforms as the demand is coming from all over the UK so we are setting up local partnerships to reach al the corners. We don’t want to refuse any demand and that is where we need more hands to join us throughout the UK including corporate backers.”
Suleman Raza, the initiative’s food business expert said.
One Million Meals is supported by doctors’ organisations with thousands of members like the Association of Pakistani Physicians of Northern Europe, Association of Pakistani Physicians and Surgeons of the United Kingdom Foundation as well as Rotary International and the London School of Economics’ LSE Generate programme. LSE Generate is the LSE’s home for entrepreneurship, supporting students and alumni to build a socially responsible business, in the UK and across the world.