At the start of lockdown, Supporting Older People partnered up with Paul Welch, founder of Pablo’s Kitchen, to help provide frozen, home cooked meals to those struggling most in lockdown. Paul recently reached the major milestone of cooking his 11,000th meal from his kitchen.
Prior to the pandemic, Paul volunteered at the Harrogate Food Bank and when the first lockdown hit, saw a greater demand for food. Paul decided to provide home cooked meals that would be delivered to those in our community who were struggling to access food.
Supporting Older People partnered with Paul to help identify those most in need, as well as help raise funds to keep this project alive.
” 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 a treat 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, SOP’s Director
The initiative has been supported by a number of local companies who have provided funding, grants and food to help meet the demand of the project.
” We couldn’t have continued this amazing project without the support of companies like Technbuyer, who generously donated a large sum of money to this cause. We need to celebrate businesses like Techbuyer who support charities like us and want nothing in return. They have made such a difference.” says Kate Rogata ” We were also delighted to receive a DEFRA grant early on from NYCC Stronger Communities Team. Morrisons have also donated food for the meals helping to reduce costs and ensure we’re using only the best ingredients.” 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. 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!
Paul said ” I always anticipated doing volunteer work when I retired, but I didn’t anticipate working from my own kitchen at home. I love my volunteer work.”
As long as there is a demand there for home cooked meals, this project will continue supporting those who are most vulnerable and struggling to access to food in the pandemic.