Celebrating a Milestone, The 5000th Meal

Harrogate Charity Supporting Older People are celebrating the milestone of Paul Welch’s 5000th meal cooked in his home kitchen and delivered by the team of volunteer drivers to older and vulnerable people in more than 100 runs since the project began in May. Nearly 2 tonnes of food have gone into over 60 different recipes. Nearly 200 people are on a rota for meals with 160 fresh meals being delivered every week. Kate Rogata SOP Director said “Demand is continuing to grow and SOP were delighted to receive a recent DEFRA grant, administered by NYCC Stronger Communities Team, of over £8,000 for their food projects. Paul’s share of this is £3,600 which will fund his fabulous meals until the New Year, so they can continue to be offered free of charge. We hope to be able to announce more great funding news for this project soon.”

“Amongst the people receiving the meals are a single mother with 5 children, with little money and significant health problems and a recovering drug addict who has described Paul’s meals as a lifeline. They are nourishing, and are also treats for people who lack access to fresh ingredients. They improve emotional and physical well-being at a time when people are experiencing increased loneliness. We are thrilled that Paul is in this for the “long haul and want to say an enormous thank you to him and his amazing team of helpers and volunteer drivers!” says Kate Rogata

58 year old Paul, who uses a wheelchair after a paragliding accident 20 years ago spends 10 hours a day preparing, cooking and freezing the food and says after feeding his medic daughters, he has been “thrilled to help people, particularly older people, then it’s definitely worthwhile.” A friend put him in touch with SOP whose Befriending and Activities’ Manager, Julia Lightfoot coordinates this project and the free weekly Asda essential hampers and the rest is history!

Now Paul is starting to think ahead to Cooking a Christmas Dinner for over 250 people, all delivered individually and would love to hear from any companies or food suppliers who would be interested in helping him fund the ingredients.

If anyone you know is struggling to put food on the table, and would benefit from Paul’s meals or the Asda bags of food and essential items, please contact Julia Lightfoot at Supporting Older People on 07535 508043 or team@supportingolderpeople.org.uk

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