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Meals4healthcare makes new donations appeal to support exhausted hospital staff
A Brussels initiative supplying meals to frontline healthcare workers has renewed its appeal for donations, as the fight against Covid-19 is far from over.
Meals4healthcare was set up last spring by ideas and networking club Full Circle and has so far provided more than a thousand meals to hospital staff who are "super-fatigued", says co-organiser Bridie Nathanson.
"Very soon after the first lockdown one of our members and friends said she felt very impotent and quite depressed about the whole situation," Nathanson says.
"She had the idea that giving Uber or Deliveroo vouchers to hospital staff could be something. Restaurants were really badly hit, so we thought it would be a double whammy of good if we could deliver meals from locally closed restaurants and try and keep them in business."
The initial fundraising appeal received a tremendous response, mainly among staff in the European institutions. "We had many directors and director-generals sending emails to their entire staff asking them to back this," Nathanson adds. "We have a number of very generous repeat donors, chipping in every couple of weeks."
Ten months in, Meals4healthcare needs support to maintain a new round of regular food deliveries, in takeaway containers, three times a week to five local hospitals: Etterbeek-Ixelles, Molière, Bracops, Brugmann and Saint-Pierre.
It has partnered with renowned zero-waste chef Elliot Van de Velde, whose non-profit Hearth Project is producing tasty meals in large batches from unsold supermarket produce that would otherwise have gone to waste.
The meals' recipients are "very touched by the gesture", says Nathanson. "It's handy to go home and not have to cook for yourself or your kids. It helps give them that tiny bit of buffer, feeling they're not totally alone.
"One of the main issues is that during the summer months, many of the staff didn't get to take a break and that's had a massive knock-on effect. It's been a really hard blow to them. Unfortunately we'll probably see the knock-on effects for years to come.
"We've got another few months of this ahead - and we need to keep supporting our healthcare workers."
Donations can be made by bank transfer - find the details at fullcircle.eu/meals4healthcare. Any remaining funds at the end of the campaign will be donated to local associations providing food to the homeless and refugees in Brussels.