Comedian Matt Lucas and actor Helen McCrory are backing a campaign to get food directly to frontline NHS staff tackling the Covid-19 crisis.
FeedNHS is being launched by fast food chain LEON to deliver meals directly to critical care staff, who have been hit by cafe and restaurant closures that they would normally visit to eat during shifts, or who won’t have time to leave wards to eat.
With plans to bring 5,600 hot meals to key healthcare workers across five hospitals every day, the campaign will work in partnership with the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
LEON co-founder and CEO John Vincent said: “We have launched FeedNHS because we have been inundated with direct requests from NHS staff and from their families, asking us to feed them. These amazing people need us. They are already going without sleep. If they also don’t have good food, they will burn out faster, function less well and become ill themselves.
“We hope other restaurant brands will join us in helping them. They deserve all of our support for their own sake, and for the patients they’re looking after. The hospitality industry is full of wonderful and passionate people. I expect many will want to be part of this action where they can, and where they still have the capabilities and facilities.”
The restaurant chain was already serving critical care staff with a 50 per cent discount and had committed to putting all profits towards the NHS.
Those behind the campaign hope it will encourage the hospitality industry to pull together and harness their resources to support NHS staff.
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Homeland and Band of Brothers actor Damian Lewis said: “We’ve got some good friends in the NHS working on the frontline and we’ve been asking how we can help. One answer was food. With cafes closed and staff working longer hours, eating at work was becoming a real problem.
“Our first point of call was John Vincent at Leon and we had to go no further. Together we are working on providing the solution that is desperately needed. We are giving money ourselves and inviting others to do the same.”
The campaign is hoping generosity from the public – who can donate online here – will help them get meals to as many people as possible.
Matt Lucas, who is also backing the initiative, said: “Here’s a chance for us all to make sure as many incredible NHS workers as possible can focus on their work and not have to worry about how they’re going to get healthy food. Please donate if you can”.