Salvation Army feeds thousands of NHS workers
published on 28 May 2020
Salvation Army staff and volunteers have been visiting NHS sites across Kent and Sussex throughout the lockdown taking along much needed refreshments for health workers.
Kent Community Health NHS Trust first asked The Salvation Army for help to provide drinks and snacks for their staff after nearby cafes closed. Since then officers and volunteers have now visited 35 NHS community sites across the area feeding a staggering 6,000 key workers.
Rob Saunders, South East Division Emergency Response Co-ordinator for The Salvation Army, said: “Our Emergency Response teams are well known for supporting people and communities at times of crisis. Salvation Army volunteers in the south east have been pleased to roll up their sleeves to support our hard-working NHS colleagues as they carry out their vital roles.”
For the past eight weeks, Rob and his team of volunteers have visited different NHS hospitals and other sites in Kent and Sussex. They set up the van and awning outside in the car park between 10am and 3pm serving refreshments and snacks, including bacon or egg rolls, free of charge for all NHS key workers. Setting up outside ensures social distancing can be safely kept and staff can wait in the fresh air for their order.
Rob continued: “When we went out with the van in the first week of lockdown, we honestly didn’t think it would be so well received. But once word got around in the NHS, the requests to visit other sites just kept coming in! At some of the smaller sites we see around 50 people but at others a few hundred pop by in their breaks. We’ll carry on travelling around doing this for as long as they need us.”
Many NHS community bases have no on-site cafe or restaurant, so staff use local facilities in their breaks. But since the lockdown and nearby food outlets closed, they have nowhere to go.
Natalie Davies, Corporate Services Director from Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our colleagues have been so appreciative for this generous donation from The Salvation Army. The food is lovely and it is so nice that they have been able to get around to each of our sites over the last few weeks.”
The church and charity’s fleet of specially designed catering vans across the country have been used for decades to respond to emergency incidents and to support those in need and the pandemic response is just the latest way they have been able to help.