Environment secretary George Eustice thanked staff virtually at wholesalers Brakes and Bidfood on 1 July for their help delivering Government food parcels to vulnerable consumers since 28 March.
Eustice, who at a recent Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee meeting admitted the Government had deliberately avoided telling people not to panic in the midst of the pandemic, said: “I want to thank all those involved at Brakes and Bidfood for the sterling work they have been doing to get food to the most vulnerable people in our society. Together they have packed and delivered more than 3.5m food parcels across England – a truly outstanding effort in such a short space of time.”
Meanwhile, since the outbreak of COVID-19, the UK’s biggest food charity FareShare said it had worked with almost 150 additional food businesses to divert surplus and donated food to those who needed it most. The organisation said it had tripled the amount of food it distributed weekly, providing enough food for UK charities and community groups to deliver more than 3.2m meals in the last full week of June.
GroceryAid launched the School Essentials Grant on 1 July to reduce the financial impact on parents working in the food industry when children go back to school in September. The initiative was not specifically designed in response to the pandemic, but could offer much-needed help to families hit financially by the crisis.
The grant is £150 per school-aged child, if the applicant can prove they are in receipt of Child Benefit and meet the eligibility criteria. It will close on 30 September or when the fund has been used, whichever comes first.
Bureau Veritas has upgraded its popular ‘Restart Your Business’ service with a new digital platform and app to make it easier for firms to become ‘COVID-secure’.
Launched in April, the ‘Restart Your Business with Bureau Veritas’ service provides a voluntary, independent assessment of a firm’s ‘COVID-secure’ readiness to re-open their business premises. Companies that meet Bureau Veritas’ robust health, safety and hygiene standards are issued with a statement of assurance, which can be displayed on a firm’s website and at its properties.
Shepherd Neame’s face masks
Shepherd Neame said on 19 June it had ordered 3,000 cloth face masks for its team members from Sittingbourne-based racing seat company Tillett Racing Seats in the past month. All the masks produced for the Make Masks UK initiative met the BSI-recommended AFNOR spec S76-001 and could be washed and reused, said the Faversham-based independent family brewer and pub operator.
Fast food operator Burger King launched its Whopper Street Lottery last month, by giving away Whopper care packages across the UK. From South London to Glasgow, households in ten streets were nominated to receive hundreds of free burgers to tuck into.
Tech Projects has designed a moveable hand sanitiser unit that can be taken to where it is needed most. It enabled firms in the food and drink industry to move the sanitiser unit to where operators were based, cutting downtime, the Gateshead based engineering firm said.
Fresh cut fruit specialist PrepWorld has confirmed it has supplied more than 67,000 washed, prepared, and ready-to-eat fruit pots to NHS hospitals across London since March. Working in collaboration with UK restauranteurs and food providers under the Feed Our Frontline scheme, the initiative delivers produce and meals to heroic hospital staff free of charge.
Belazu’s virtual banquet
On 29 May, Belazu, food supplier to chefs and home cooks, raised nearly £60,000 in aid of the charity Chefs in Schools, via a virtual banquet. A total of 1,780 guests attended, via a web link from their own kitchens. The guests were given the chance to create nine dishes, including a cocktail, under the guidance of some of London’s top restaurant chefs and bartenders.
Host Henry Dimbleby led nine guest chefs and two entertainers through the three-and-a-half-hour-event, whose funds would provide 60,000 meals for vulnerable families in need. This would help to double – or even triple – the charity’s reach in the coming months, in particular during the summer holidays when it is needed most.
Burton’s Biscuit Company marked National Biscuit Day (29 May) with product donations throughout the UK to those supporting people in need. Burton’s identified charities or organisations focused on fighting loneliness or supporting elderly people at risk of social isolation. The earmarked charities received a Burton’s Biscuits hamper containing brands such as Maryland Cookies, Jammie Dodgers, Wagon Wheels, Thomas Fudge’s and Paterson shortbread.
Multinational food firm Nestlé announced it would give the British and Irish Red Cross Societies more than £200,000 to help support those hit hardest by coronavirus. The sum was a share of a 10m Swiss Francs (CHF) donation to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)’s global appeal to help combat the pandemic.
The IFRC has a long-standing partnership with Nestlé. Both were set up in Switzerland over a century ago and each now has a presence in nearly every country in the world. Nestlé confirmed the British Red Cross would get £155,000 and the Irish Red Cross £52,000 (60,000 Euros). The company has also been donating water, coffee and chocolate treats to food supplies for those in need.
Coffee for NHS staff
UK coffee companies rallied together to support key workers fighting coronavirus. By 27 May, British Coffee Association (BCA) members and the wider industry had donated more than 900 coffee machines and enough pods, beans and blends for almost 2m cups of coffee for NHS hospital staff.
The initiative is part of the NHS Coffee Appeal, which was set up to provide hot drinks to staff across the country. Thousands of bags of coffee beans, pods, roast and ground coffee, filters, and espresso machines have been donated to NHS Trust hospitals and NHS teams nationally.
Having donated more than 10,000 cups of noodles to NHS Trusts and foodbanks, Mr Lee’s Noodles offered all sizes of orders, from cups to pallets, for workers returning to work without access to lunch options.