A national fundraising effort set up to feed frontline workers during the pandemic delivered over 200,000 meals in a 14-week period last year.
Feed the Heroes, founded by Cian O’Flaherty and Tad McAllister in March of last year, raised over €1.4m from over 19,000 unique donations, while in-kind contributions of food, services and volunteer hours amounted to over €4m.
The initiative, which partnered with restaurants, takeaways, caterers and commercial kitchens to prepare and deliver the meals, delivered food to staff at 143 different sites, including hospitals, the national ambulance service, nursing homes, pharmacies, community test sites, contract-tracing centres, emergency operations, fire service, frontline charities, gardaí and GP surgeries.
Each meal cost around €7 to prepare and deliver.
Project costs associated with GoFundMe and nominal administrative costs represented around 2.4% of the total funds raised, with the remaining funds at the end of the project distributed between four charities; ICHH, the Peter McVerry Trust, Pieta and the Irish Cancer Society.
Speaking today, Feed the Heroes founder Cian O’Flaherty, who initially aimed to raise some €1,000 to fund a few meals, said he was “completely blown away” by the response of the public, whose generosity transformed their ambition of fuelling the frontline into a reality.
“We are enormously grateful not only to those who donated but to the hundreds of people across the country who supported the initiative through the provision of food, services, and time,” he said.
Over 25 people coordinated the Feed the Heroes effort, committing over 5,000 hours of work to sustain meal delivery over the 14-week period.
Mr O’Flaherty also paid respect to the frontline workers, who he says have faced the “challenge of a lifetime.”
“We are forever indebted to you for your brave efforts these past 12 months. We hope that the meals provided went some way in easing your burden in fighting this pandemic and were received as a symbol of solidarity and gratitude from a people who can never thank you enough.”