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Campaign: €50,000 is raised to 'feed the heroes' at our hospitals

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Beaumont staff got salads from Chopped; Domino’s sent pizzas to Tullamore Hospital

Beaumont staff got salads from Chopped; Domino’s sent pizzas to Tullamore Hospital

Beaumont staff got salads from Chopped; Domino’s sent pizzas to Tullamore Hospital

Beaumont staff got salads from Chopped; Domino’s sent pizzas to Tullamore Hospital

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Beaumont staff got salads from Chopped; Domino’s sent pizzas to Tullamore Hospital

More than €50,000 has been raised in a day to help feed staff in Irish hospitals who are working to treat and contain the coronavirus.

The 'Feed the Heroes' fundraiser is one of a number of online campaigns which have sprung up to help all of those affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Cian O'Flaherty, a 32-year-old businessman based in Dublin, set up FeedTheHeroes.com after he saw a post on social media on Sunday morning.

The post said an anonymous member of the public had dropped a large takeaway order into staff working at the Mater Hospital.

"I thought lots of people would probably like to do that for the staff that are working hard, if we could co-ordinate cash and people to deliver it," Mr O'Flaherty said.

He set up FeedTheHeroes.com shortly afterwards, which asked people to donate money to "send food regularly to our hard-working healthcare staff using local businesses".

Within 12 hours, it had raised more than €30,000. By yesterday afternoon, it had exceeded €50,000 from 1,600 donations.

Ten volunteers order takeaway and arrange for it to be delivered to hospital staff.

Mr O'Flaherty said he had been "inundated" with offers from people who wanted to help. "It's absolutely astonishing. Just the scale at which people piled into us and wanted to say thank you and support the people who are putting themselves at risk to make sure all of us are ok," he said. "It's been a struggle to spend the money. A lot of companies and individuals just won't take payment."

On Sunday, Monsoon in Stillorgan delivered a large Indian takeaway to St Vincent's Hospital through Feed the Heroes, and refused to accept payment for it. Base Pizza delivered an order to Beaumont Hospital for free, and Camile Thai also refused to be paid for its large delivery to the Mater Hospital.

Mr O'Flaherty said there was now a second benefit to the project, which is offering business to any restaurants which have had to close their physical premises but are still offering takeaway services.

"If there are suppliers or cafés or people who are close to a hospital and happy to take orders to deliver, go to our website and sign up. It's a two-minute form and we'll be able to place orders," he said.

Valerie Gaynor, the manager of a preschool and afterschool service in Walkinstown, Dublin, also used social media to try to help healthcare workers. Ms Gaynor has compiled a list of childcare workers who have been forced to stop working, but are now available to help nurses or doctors who have had their children sent home from schools or crèches.

She has now collected hundreds of names, after reaching out to primary and secondary teachers who have also been sent home. She's been forwarding the lists of teachers and childminders to hospitals to share with staff.

"It's one way to do something positive," she said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people have been offering to pick up food and medicine for people in their local area using the hashtag #SelfIsolationHelp.

Aoife Larkin (25) offered to help anyone who needed groceries picked up in her local area of Kilmainham, Dublin. Ms Larkin, who is working in St James' Hospital dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak, said she'd been in contact with older people who needed help or advice. After she posted about what she was doing on Twitter, she was inundated with offers of help.

"The enthusiasm and selflessness of local people has been insane," she said.

Irish Independent