Social Justice

First free food delivery service for rough sleepers launches in Bristol

Freshly cooked hot meals plus packed breakfasts and lunches will be delivered to the doors of all 600 homeless people recently given accommodation by the council amid the Covid-19 outbreak

Charity Caring In Bristol is launching a project to get restaurant-quality meals from Michelin-starred restaurant chefs to homeless people during the Covid-19 crisis.

Cheers Drive will feed as many as 600 homeless people every day after Bristol City Council followed government requests to get rough sleepers into accommodation where they could self-isolate.

Everyone housed by the council will benefit from the food project, receiving a fresh hot meat straight to their door every day – plus breakfast and lunch packed to be eaten later.

The food will be prepared by local chefs, like Josh Eggleton of the Pony and Trap restaurant, and distributed around the city to people who have been moved into hotels and hostels by the council plus people in temporary accommodation like B&Bs. The food will be delivered using a van from fruit and vegetable supplier Total Produce UK.

Eggleton will lead the project overseeing three kitchens cooking food for Cheers Drive.

Food services for vulnerable people are already feeling the effects of the coronavirus shutdown – like foodbanks seeing both a drop in donations and a sudden dip in volunteers able to offer their time. It’s hoped this pioneering initiative will go some way to plug that gap for vulnerably housed people in Bristol.

Bristol councillor Paul Smith said: “This is a really difficult time for everyone and we are so proud that Bristol has risen to the challenge of making sure homeless people and rough sleepers have a safe and secure place to stay during the crisis.

“The Cheers Drive initiative will be an additional lifeline, providing people with healthy, hot food and a wide security net across Bristol’s sectors.”

Chef Eggleton will work alongside Pasta Loco’s Dominic Borel and Shona Graham of Emmeline and the Hatch at Spike Island, working with ingredients supplied by local restaurants’ existing stock as well as food redistribution charity FareShare.

Caring in Bristol director Ben Richardson said: “We are really proud to be the official food providers to all those that Bristol City Council has promised to house during this crisis.

“Traditional food projects for those experiencing homelessness rely on large public gatherings, soup-kitchen style handouts and unfortunately, they are no longer safe.

“It’s important that agile charities like ours can rise to challenges and meet the most immediate needs of those that are vulnerable during times of change, we will be there for everyone.”

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