Local firms prove food is at the heart of the community by serving more than 400 meals a day and delivering 100 meals a week for frontline staff and those in need.
Reorganising your business to adapt to the changing Government guidelines throughout a pandemic can be challenging enough.
However, if you had told Perthshire businessman Gavin Price that he would be spearheading a not-for-profit project and handing out more than 400 meals a day for free for those over 70 in isolation in 2020, he probably wouldn’t have believed you.
Faced with the fact his four businesses would be closed until further notice, Gavin quickly got to work rearranging his stock and cooking up meals he and his staff could deliver to elderly Perthshire residents doors.
#FeldyRoo Day 86:Another Friday and another Iain Struthers video to enjoy, the 12th in fact. Looking back on some of this previous footage it has been interesting to see how #FeldyRoo journey has developed over three months. I think it has been important to have this account on file, a bit of history as to how the lock down has effected parts of our Community.It is hoped we will put some sort of film together at the end of this to share with you all? Could maybe even sweet talk the The Birks Cinema Aberfeldy into having a screening for this, now there would be an idea?🎬🎬💡💡With this in mind, we felt it was important to capture as many of the businesses, volunteers and residents on film as possible. Everyone has a different story to tell about what the lock down and what #FeldyRoo has meant to them.By no means have we caught everyone on camera yet, but we fully intend to do this, so the Menzies family – (Sasha Menzies, Ross Menzies, Karen Penny Menzies) can't hide forever??Just short of 200 Fish & Chips tonight, this is the first time we have been below 200 on a Friday since April which is maybe a sign that numbers are starting to fall as we hopefully move back to normallity. 199 was the number tonight so not falling so fast!! The Fountain Bar & Restaurant cooking 141 of these for our Aberfeldy and West residents while The Inn on the Tay are frying 58 for those in the East. This morning The Watermill teamsed up with the Wilson family at Inn on the Tay to serve 185 lunches, with the morning papers.Enjoy this weeks video.#FeldyRoo Funded by SSE Renewables, The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland, NHS Tayside Community Innovation Fund, Foundation Scotland, Highland Action Partnership, Northwood
Posted by Feldy-Roo on Friday, 12 June 2020
Starting with 10 free meals on the first night, news of the new food delivery service called Feldy-Roo travelled fast, with demand growing to 40 meals within a few days.
Now, Gavin and nine other eateries have teamed up, providing more than 400 free meals a day across the Aberfeldy area to help those isolated members of the community during the coronavirus lockdown.
The eateries involved include: The Fountain Bar (owned by Gavin), The Watermill (providing lunch), The Chillies Indian Restaurant, The Three Lemons, Ericchel’s Thyme to Eat (Sunday lunch), The Old Filling Station and The Tay Cafe. The Inn on The Tay and Ballintaggart in Grandtully also share the week there, taking on half each.
Gavin said: “It started the Thursday before lockdown. I have four pubs in the area and we just thought we’d use up all the stock so made a few meals for the over 70s who were going to be isolated. We started off with 10 on the first, 20 on the second, then 40, and it exploded from there.
“We had other businesses in the town wanting to get involved and lots of volunteers came forward which meant we could expand the routes and within two or three weeks we were doing two meals a day. Lunch is soup, a roll, and cake, served with a newspaper and then we also provide dinner, too. We’re now doing over 400 meals a day.
“There’s nine businesses involved in the cooking side of it and my pub, The Fountain Bar, is at the centre of it and is where the drivers will pick up the meals. Some eateries do one night a week, others do more. Some will take on other things, too. There’s now 15 different routes we cater for around the Aberfeldy area which we’re covering twice a day. We go out to Kenmore, Fearnan and west Aberfeldy, then the east to the A9.
“We’ve nearly done 30,000 meals overall.”
Delivering to elderly residents twice a day, Gavin’s army of more than 120 volunteers help run the service seven days a week, with a range of cuisines on offer for recipients to try, including Sunday lunch at the weekend.
#FeldyRoo Day 58:The weekend is upon us again and to celebrate a few extra treats are going out with the meals tonight. Billy Duff (from Dalerb) has again provided all our residents with a wee dram of our local Blend from Dewar's Aberfeldy Distillery. While Steven Dow baked some fresh fruit scones this morning that were a massive hit with our isolated heroes. The Inn on the Tay and The Watermill teamed up this morning to get bang on 200 lunches out round the area. Tonight The Inn on the Tay and The Fountain Bar & Restaurant both have Fish & Chips on the menu, with 211 portions being prepared, within this Josie Wilson and Geoff Wilson broke the "East" record, with 60 meals.Just a quick note before tonight's main event. Our Scottish Cup Live Draw starts tomorrow at 4.45pm. We have sold 100 of the 128 teams already. You will need to be quick if you want to get one of the remaining teams. Details on how to do this will be on the Aberfeldy Community Notice Board with Shirley Mitchell. I believe a few big names still remain Motherwell Football Club, Gala Fairydean Football Club, Lossiemouth FC, Auchinleck Talbot F.C. to name but a few!!However it is Friday, sit back and relax as it is Video time again. Iain Struthers Photography takes us out West this week to cover some of the excellent work carried out in Kenmore, Acharn, Fortingall and Fearnan. This is a really good insight into what goes on in a typical day, with some lovely stories focussed on our volunteers and residnets in this area. Enjoy!#FeldyRooFunded by SSE Renewables, The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland, Foundation Scotland, NHS Tayside Community Innovation Fund, Highland Action partnership, Northwood Charitable Trust
Posted by Feldy-Roo on Friday, 15 May 2020
He added: “The residents get Indian food on a Monday and Errichel does a Sunday roast which everyone loves. It has really evolved as it has gone on.
“There’s well over 120-130 volunteers now between delivery drivers, kitchen teams and we’ve also got a funding team together, too.”
Raising around £135K for the project through grants and a Go Fund Me page, Gavin is delighted he and those involved can continue to offer the free food delivery service to vulnerable individuals.
“We’ve raised around £135K for the project which is pretty amazing. The way the community has come together is just mind blowing. From donations to practical help, to Aberfeldy Distillery who supplied us with PPE equipment and sanitiser, and also gave out miniatures of whisky – every business has really got involved and supported in any way they can.
We’ve nearly done 30,000 meals overall. There’s well over 120-130 volunteers now between delivery drivers, kitchen teams and we’ve also got a funding team together, too.
Gavin Price – founder of Feldy-Roo
“The funding team have done great with the grants. SSE gave us a £47K grant and we’ve received grants from The National Lottery, NHS Tayside, Foundation Scotland, Highland Action Partnership who have all given £5K or more. This has allowed us to expand and scale up the project. We couldn’t have done that without this support and the volunteers and restaurants involved. It’s been a real success with the community involvement and there’s a real feel-good factor.
“Everyone is volunteer based – they even pay their own petrol. The funding covers the cost price of food so the restaurants get that, but don’t make anything from it. It also goes towards the packaging like food containers and bags we need, some PPE and the newspapers we hand out.”
And while most good things must come to an end, Gavin and the volunteers are determined to safeguard a future for the project which has become a vital lifeline for so many isolating and on their own.
With funding secured to see the project run until the end of July, the businessman is currently in talks to figure out how the Feldy-Roo legacy can live on.
“It has benefited a lot of people and it has been just amazing. A lot of people have been really isolated and haven’t seen anyone for weeks. It is giving a lot of people structure and everyone is enjoying what they are doing,” said Gavin.
#FeldyRoo Day 37:Another day of fabulous weather in Aberfeldy as the #FeldyRoo delivery squad swap their team hoodies for t-shirts and shorts. We are edging ever closer to the 200 mark. Between the The Watermill Bookshop, Cafe & Gallery, Aberfeldy (153) and The Inn on the Tay (34) dished up a record 187 lunches this morning. This evening The Fountain Bar & Restaurant (148) and The Inn on the Tay (43) are cooking up 191 portions of Fish & Chips to go round the area tonight, another record. My prediction is Sunday we hit the 200?As ever we have loads to report on but will leave this for over the weekend. Instead, as is tradition now on a Friday Night, it is time for me to pass you over to @Iain Struthers as he has prepared Part 5 of the #FeldyRoo Epic. An alternative twist to tonight's video, as we focus on the people that matter most in the #FeldyRoo project. Some lovely interviews with some of our residents, whose words hammer home why we are all doing this. If you didn't know before you will after watching the video.#FeldyRooFunded by SSE, The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland, NHS Tayside, Highland Action Partnership
Posted by Feldy-Roo on Friday, 24 April 2020
“We’re actively discussing the future just now. We’re committed to doing it until the end of July as that has been the guidance for those shielding, so everyone seems to be on board to do that. I think we have enough finance to see us through to the end of July. After that, we’re working really hard to find ways for those who really need this service, to continue it after and have some sort of legacy that stays with this. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep this going in some sort of form.”
Must Eat delivers 100 meals to frontline workers and those in need
Another Perth-based business also putting the community first is Must Eat in Perth.
Delivering hundreds of meals and some groceries every week to those on the frontline and the vulnerable, Laeeq Rehman, shop manager of Perth takeaway Must Eat has handing out more than 100 hot meals a week to those working in care homes and hospitals, families in need and local charities.
The initiative began last year after big-hearted Laeeq decided he wanted to do something to help the local community.
Laeeq said: “Every year my mum takes out some money to give to charity anyway so I said instead of that this year, why don’t we do something locally?”
Watch Laeeq’s busy shift as he prepares and delivers meals for frontline staff and those in need..
Laeeq added: “We started with supplying to nearby Skinnergate House and had people from there coming into our shop asking for meals and saying they had nothing to eat.
“Then, when lockdown hit, we posted on our Facebook that if anyone locally needed help or food to let us know. We got a lot of responses from elderly people and neighbours of vulnerable people.
“At the start of lockdown we were also delivering them milk, bread and butter so they wouldn’t have to go out and get some.
“I was also getting maybe five or six contacts a day from the Perth Welfare Society (PWS) regarding vulnerable people in the local area, so we were often getting bread and milk and the essentials for small families through them. We’re still working with PWS to continue helping those people.
“We’re actually doing this four to five days a week. If anyone comes into the shop and says they are struggling to survive and don’t have any money for food then we give them food for free as well. We’re not getting a lot of people, maybe five to 10 a day but we’ll always welcome them.
“Perth is our home so we felt very strongly about helping the local community. Asking someone for help is not easy so if a family or vulnerable person reaches out to me via text or email I will get it sorted. ”
When it comes to making the meals and delivering them, Laeeq said it was a family affair, with his mum being involved in a lot of the cooking.
He said: “My mum will cook around 40-50 meals every day for delivery, and whatever is left that we don’t sell in the shop we deliver [on a voluntary basis]. Yesterday I had 100 meals to send out, so my mum made 60 of them at home and we did the other 40 in the shop.
“On our side it’s my mum, our catering staff of four people who work in the shop, plus three delivery drivers. My father owns the business and he has three shops but I look after this one for him.
“We started doing this last year, long before the lockdown and will hope to continue it long after.
“At the end of the month/beginning of next month we’re hoping to do a charity night for one of the children’s charities. All the money we make on the counter that evening will go straight to charity. We haven’t finalised the details of this yet but it will likely be promoted on our Facebook page.”
Mr Rehman even received a thank you letter from the chairman of Balhousie Care Group at the start of May in appreciation for the deliveries.
Letter of appreciation from Balhousie Care Group ❤️❤️
A spokesperson said: “Balhousie Care Group is so thankful to Mr Rehman and Must Eat Perth for their kind contributions of food. Our ‘Everyday Heroes’ have been working harder than ever these last weeks and months and we’re extremely grateful for the boost in spirits that donations from the community have given to our care home staff.”
Liz Stewart, general manager at Ochil Care Home, another regular recipient of the meals, said: “We are all truly thankful and feel very humbled to receive support like this from the local community.
“Must Eat in Perth have delivered food free of charge to local businesses during the pandemic, including Ochil care home. The team work tirelessly, continuing to ensure residents are happy, engaged and connected, which is more important than ever. We hope that these new connections will continue beyond the current situation, and we just want to say a huge thank you to Must Eat!”.
Gerard Young, manager at Skinnergate House, a 30-bed resettlement centre in Perth and regular recipient of some of the meals, said: “Our sincere thanks to the team at Must Eat for their continued support, especially during this difficult time. We are grateful for their generosity and for providing meals to the people who use our service.”
Safdar Ali, chairman of Perth Welfare Society which worked in partnership with Mr Rehman to get food to key workers and those in need, said: “Must Eat approached us as soon as lockdown was declared by government. Laeeq from Must Eat was very keen to provide hot meals to key workers, we supported this initiative by identifying services – as well as this we also provided details of some families who are very vulnerable and would benefit from hot meals.
“Laeeq has shown a very positive attitude and we are very aware they have been delivering hot meals on a regular basis. Laeeq contacts us every day to ask if we have any further services or families whom he could provide free hot meals to. We have had positive feedback from the families and services – Must Eat have gone that extra mile to put a smile on people’s faces.”