Deliveroo to provide 500,000 free meals to NHS staff

By Emma Bowden, PA

Food delivery service Deliveroo will make half a million meals available to NHS staff for free amid the coronavirus crisis.

The London-based company said it is working with restaurant partners to provide food to frontline workers, and had already received pledges of 350,000 free meals.

Deliveroo customers ordering food will also be able to donate through the app, contributing funds to buy meals for nurses and doctors.

It becomes the latest company to offer their support to NHS staff battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Donations to the food delivery company have been led by Pizza Hut, who pledged 300,000 meals, providing pizzas, side salads, pasta dishes and other options for NHS workers near their restaurants.

Deliveroo, who will raise funds to support the campaign, said Itsu and Lewis Hamilton’s plant-based Neat Burger restaurant had also made donations.

Meals have already started being delivered to NHS trusts in London and will be increased to cater to more hospitals across the UK.

While the food delivery service said the majority of meals will go to NHS staff, Deliveroo said it will continue to deliver free food to vulnerable people during the pandemic.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The nation needs the NHS like never before, and we must support every single colleague in the NHS.

“I’m delighted that Deliveroo and partners are playing their part in this great national effort with half a million meals for the NHS.

“We can best come through this if we pull together.”

CEO and founder of Deliveroo Will Shu said: “Those in the NHS working night and day to save lives are the real heroes of this crisis, and we want to do our small part to support them and the vulnerable who aren’t able to leave their homes.

“Thanks to our dedicated riders, the generosity of our restaurant partners and their teams who are keeping kitchens open to serve those most in need, we hope to be able to make a difference.”

Meanwhile, a campaign to provide hospital staff with hot meals backed by actors Matt Lucas, Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory has surpassed £400,000 in donations.

A partnership between restaurant chain Leon, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and UCLH Healthcare NHS Trust, the FeedNHS campaign is aiming to raise £1 million to provide 6,000 meals a day for hospitals in the capital.

A similar campaign called Meals for the NHS has raised more than £250,000 to help provide free hot meals for frontline staff – less than seven days after it was launched by a small group of friends.

It has since provided 4,000 meals to hospitals with tens of thousands more expected soon.

Andrew Muir Wood, one of the founders, told the PA news agency: “It’s hard for anyone to operate on an empty stomach let alone people trying to save lives, so we got together trying to work out how we could solve that.”

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