• Corin Bell

Coronavirus response: Get busy and keep cooking!


For those of you who aren’t familiar with us…. Open Kitchen MCR is a waste food not for profit. We work with a huge range of food businesses to source perfectly edible food that will otherwise go to waste and use it to provide meals and food to a range of people. Under normal circumstances, we operate a waste food catering service to generate income (and stamp out food waste), and this subsidises our work supporting vulnerable people with hot nutritious meals, food and supplies.


We’re starting to be contacted by people who are going to struggle to keep themselves fed during the Coronavirus social distancing protocols. The first people affected seem to be those who are currently well, but at high risk due to existing health concerns, and therefore having to self-isolate. As the measures take hold, we imagine there will be a huge number of people affected, including children who would normally receive a free school meal, people in food poverty who would normally visit a food bank or community centre for support, and people who become ill and have a limited network of support around them.


We are currently in contact with colleagues from Manchester and Greater Manchester authorities, the NHS, and other support organisations, and are part of the working group developing a solid coordinated response to support people across Greater Manchester who are in need.


Donations to food banks are currently down as people who would usually support start to feel the strain. But food waste is currently massively on the rise as events are cancelled and businesses and education institutions shut down.


So, we’ve decided not to wait. We will absolutely continue to coordinate with the Greater Manchester wide effort to respond to people in crisis in a joined up, coordinated way, but as of this morning we’ve got a lot of food, no catering orders, and lots of people who are going to need our help in the coming weeks and months. We are starting to prepare good “home-cooked” meals, and to portion them out into microwaveable containers. We plan to make and deliver a mix of meals and groceries to people who are struggling.



We need your help!


SUPPORT:

First and foremost, we need some financial support to deliver this service. If you can offer a donation or spread the word, we'd really appreciate it! Every single penny of funds raised will go to buy supplies needed to deliver the service safely (cleaning supplies, take-away containers, etc), and to support prep and delivery costs.

Here’s a link to our Paypal Donate Page;

https://www.paypal.me/realjunkfoodmcr


FOOD:

If you are a business and you have food that will go to waste, we want it. Email info@openkitchenmcr.co.uk


We can accept;

- Any “un-prepped” food (i.e. raw ingredients; meat, fish, veg, cheese, milk, bread, etc) that has been stored correctly, whether that be fridge, freezer, or ambient.

- Prepped foods (e.g coleslaws or salads that have been made up by the food business) that are chilled and are still suitable for use for the next 48 hours. 

- Any drinks, snacks or crisps that are packaged, even if they are past best before date. 

- We cannot accept any ingredients or dishes that have been hot held - e.g. curries, meats, rice, etc that has been cooked and held at a hot serving temperature, as it will not be suitable for reuse. 

- We cannot accept any products that are past Use By date. 

- We cannot accept pre-prepared sandwiches (because they tend to need using on that day, and we can’t get them delivered in time to be useful)


HUMANS:

As our operation grows to support more people, we may also need volunteer chefs and drivers. We’re going to have to be really cautious about how we work with volunteers, because we need to make sure we’re not adding to the spread of the virus, but if you are fit and healthy, and you have skills that could help, please feel free to get in touch on volunteering@openkitchenmcr.co.uk


If you feel like you can help with anything else, please do feel free to get in touch with the team on info@openkitchenmcr.co.uk or on 07851 080 342.


If you're in self isolation and you're struggling to get food, or you're worried about someone else, you can contact us on info@openkitchenmcr.co.uk Please only contact us if there's no one else who can help locally, we can only do so much, and we'll help as many people as we can.


Bear with us as we get going, we’re changing our entire operating model in a matter of days, and we’re bound to hit a few snags along the way. If you do get in touch with us, and we take a little while to get back to you, forgive us. If it’s urgent / really time sensitive, call us on the phone.


We’re all in this together.


Big hugs,

The team at Open Kitchen MCR

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