GOOD NEWS

Businesses rally to supply meals to hospital staff amid coronavirus pandemic

Thank you: Wauchope District Memorial Hospital perioperative nurse Kristin Matthews collects a meal for her family from Craig Freudenstein of XS Food, while practising great social distancing skills. Photo: supplied
Thank you: Wauchope District Memorial Hospital perioperative nurse Kristin Matthews collects a meal for her family from Craig Freudenstein of XS Food, while practising great social distancing skills. Photo: supplied

A community-led initiative is providing hot meals to doctors and nurses and boosting their morale at the same time.

Slade Refrigerated Transport director Josh Slade came up with the idea to provide family-sized meals to hospital staff amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He reached out to businesses and suppliers.

Donations of food and money flowed and the idea became a reality.

The XS Food team is cooking the meals in their Port Macquarie factory, and as the initiative ramps up, Timbertown Pies has offered access to its manufacturing facilities.

The clinical staff place their orders and Slade Refrigerated Transport handles the food transport and deliveries.

About 25 meals were delivered to Wauchope District Memorial Hospital as a trial on Thursday, April 3.

The meal service will begin at Port Macquarie Base Hospital on April 14 with a plan to extend the service to Kempsey District Hospital.

Mr Slade said the initiative would give nurses and doctors extra time with their families or to rest after their shifts.

Registered nurse Sue Dennerley approaches Craig Freudenstein, grateful for the act of kindness that delivered more than 20 family meals to Wauchope District Memorial Hospital staff.

Registered nurse Sue Dennerley approaches Craig Freudenstein, grateful for the act of kindness that delivered more than 20 family meals to Wauchope District Memorial Hospital staff.

Supporters include Hokubee Australia, Ken Little's Quality Fruit and Vegetables and IGA.

XS Food chef/owner Craig Freudenstein is drawing on his experience in corporate and events catering to whip up the meals.

The first lot of meals featured shepherd's pie, lasagna and chickpea/ vegetable rice korma - all in family-sized packs.

"I've got the facilities, the know-how and staff, we might as well give back to the guys who have really put themselves out there," Mr Freudenstein said.

"For us, it's a nice thing to do."

Rotary Club of Wauchope president George Campbell said the club was fully supportive of the initiative under its charitable status.

"We are pleased to see it going ahead and provide this sort of support to the program," he said.

Hastings Macleay clinical network coordinator Catharine Death said the community-led initiative was a massive morale booster to staff at Wauchope and Port Macquarie Base hospitals.

"We know we're all in this together, but this level of practical support for our workforce is simply amazing," Ms Death said.

"I simply cannot begin to try to find the appropriate words to express our gratitude.

"Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, seems woefully inadequate.

"I just hope every person involved in this campaign knows how much of a difference they have made to morale, especially at a time when some of those supporting us have tremendous worries of their own."

Ms Death said please know, at the end of a long shift, in the tea rooms or at home, when our staff open their dinner pack, you have provided much more than just a meal.

Businesses interested in supporting the campaign should contact Josh Slade on 0477 967 372.

Hastings Co-op's Tim Walker, Craig Freudenstein of XS Food, food safety auditor Jacqui Ward and Josh Slade of Slade Refrigerated Transport with (back) RN Joy Barnes and director of nursing/executive officer Ann Bodill support the meals service.

Hastings Co-op's Tim Walker, Craig Freudenstein of XS Food, food safety auditor Jacqui Ward and Josh Slade of Slade Refrigerated Transport with (back) RN Joy Barnes and director of nursing/executive officer Ann Bodill support the meals service.