Meals from Marlow deliver food crates to NHS workers' homes

Tom Kerridge charity Meals from Marlow delivers food to NHS staff

“It’s all about friendship.”

Three key people began a project with the ambition to help supply food to NHS staff during lockdown, and now charity Meals from Marlow is in full swing.

TV chef Tom Kerridge, marketing expert Andy Agar and event manager Chris Hughes realised that furloughed staff from restaurants and events company Lush needed something to do. Discovering that NHS staff coming off shift frequently couldn’t get any food, they decided to pool their expertise and take swift action to help, and it took them just four days:

Day 1: Devised a plan to raise money to purchase supplies.
Day 2: A GoFundMe page was set up, £40k was raised immediately and Meals from Marlow began.
Day 3: The church got involved to help with distribution.
Day 4: The first meals went out.

Tom Kerridge delivers meals and water to NHS staff

75,000 meals sent out

Costs plummeted as food suppliers started to donate produce, while the numbers needing support grew. To date, they have raised nearly £180,000 and recently celebrated sending out their 75,000th meal! For 13 weeks from April to June, seven days a week, meals went out by car, on foot and by bicycle.

On Sundays, hospitals found they had fewer volunteers, so spare meals were handed out to anyone who wanted one. It’s a random act of kindness which has brought a lot of pleasure.

Now, meals are distributed twice a week, and the system involves bulk cooking, packing and freezing. As meals are required, the food is defrosted and sent out, dated and chilled as fresh, for cooking at home. For every meal sold in one of Tom Kerridge’s restaurants, he gives a meal to Marlow.

The people in need have changed too, with schools, the homeless and the unemployed now receiving help. 750 to 1,000 meals a week are now being made.

Going forward

There are plans for a big fundraiser for Meals from Marlow after Christmas, and trustees from a wide variety of well-connected people are thrilled to be part of it.

Andy Agar continues to run the function on a day-to-day basis. When asked why, Andy said that after a lifetime in the commercial world, it is lovely to do something for other people. He hadn’t many friends in town before but is now connected with people he would never otherwise have known. Even his own closest neighbours were elderly people he had never met, and he was able to help with shopping and errands. He believes he now has a much better balance to his life.

Going forward, Andy and vicar Dave would love to see this model replicated across Oxfordshire. They are happy to advise about the best ways to do it – get in touch below!

Contact Andy Agar or Dave Bull