Bristol Food Union: Restaurants deliver 1,500 meals to frontline

Our latest blog post is an update from the team behind Bristol Food Union, a new union of chefs, restauranteurs and suppliers who have come together to help keep food moving in the city after closures due to coronavirus.

What a couple of weeks it has been! Since our crowd-funder went live on Friday 27 March, more than 530 people have donated in support of Bristol’s incredible food community. As of this morning (17 April) we have raised £23,121 to Feed the Frontline and £15,000 for the Bristol Food Fund

So what have we been doing with your support?

Feeding the frontline

An incredible 429 supporters have donated to feed the frontline during the COVID-19 crisis. We use the money donated to pay each participating restaurant £4 for every meal they produce. This way chefs keep buying produce from their suppliers, your funds help to feed people, AND we keep food and farming communities afloat.

We’re now delivering daily to the BRI intensive care and cardiac surgery units, several social care locations and closed mental health units. Over the last two weeks we have delivered 1,500 meals directly to the frontline.

Next week our provision will expand to 500 meals a day, seven days per week. Feeding not only frontline workers, but also frontline communities.

It’s become clear over the last two-weeks that demand for our service is high. We want to continue to provide meals to any frontline community in need of something nutritious and delicious to sustain and keep them going.

It costs us £6 to produce and deliver each meal. With demand already at 500 meals a day, our £20,000 fund will not last long! We would like to keep cooking for the next 6-8 weeks. So today we’ve increased our crowd-funding target to £100,000 to enable us to continue with this important and essential work.

Please give what you can to support our fantastic restaurant community in continuing to feed people when it matters most.

Provisions boxes for foster care leavers

In collaboration with Bristol City Council’s foster-care services, we have delivered 347 weekly provision boxes to vulnerable foster care leavers across the city. Co-ordinated by the incredible Tessa & Elliot Lidstone from Box-E restaurant, Ashton Gate Stadium has been turned into a veritable hub of activity for packing and distributing weekly provisions boxes.

In true Bristol spirit, we’ve aimed to make the boxes as interesting as possible for young people. So we must say a massive thank you to Lush Cosmetics, Kabuto Noodles, Yeo Valley and other corporate partners, who have all made donations to go into the boxes. We’re also grateful to all the Bristol graffiti artists who have donated collectable prints to include, and we are looking forward to hosting an online cooking event for foster care leavers across the city in the coming weeks – watch this space.

We’re delighted to announce that with thanks to Maurice di Rosso at Feeding Bristol, and the unstoppable Andy Street who is coordinating the city’s emergency food response, we have secured an additional £4,000 of funding to enable this part of the project to continue for the next four weeks, with the hope of more to follow.

Bristol Food Union is not only about providing charitable food in a time of need. The mass closure of the eating out sector, compounded by the cancellation of farmers markets, food festival and music events for the rest of the summer, has had a devastating and immediate impact of our regional food supply chains. This article on Wicked Leeks (Riverford’s magazine) takes a look at the longer-term aims of the project and the issues facing our restaurant community.

Bristol Food Union is a collective of restaurants, food businesses and community organisations that have come together across sectors to ensure that the city of Bristol stays fed during the COVID-19 crisis.