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09th Apr 2020

“There’s something very Irish about just feeding people out of gratitude” The founder of the Feed the Heroes campaign on how we can give back to our frontline workers

Alice Kiernan

“Lots of these people are dedicating 12 and 16 hour days. It’s not always guaranteed that they’ll be able to have a meal during that.”

It’s an unusual time in our society at the moment with many of us feeling helpless with the situation we’re in. Cian O’Flaherty, founder of Safecility, has put his entrepreneurial and business skills to use during this uncertain period to create the Feed The Heroes campaign.

Feed The Heroes enables food business to work through the crisis and provide for those working on the frontline, allowing restaurants and takeaways to sign up as suppliers to feed the frontline workers during Covid-19.

Speaking on JOE’s business show, All In, which is backed by AIB, Cian spoke about the encouragement and support his campaign has received over the past few weeks.

“We’ve been inundated, we set up a form on our site for suppliers. At the time, people were unsure whether they’d be staying open through the week let alone for the duration of the emergency.

“It was a sense that if you were still open and still interested in providing food, especially if you were a dine-in moving to take-out or you were in a part of the sector badly hit, get on the form, let us know where you are and we’ll try our best to get to as many of you as possible,” he said.

“You start with, maybe someone reaches out to you on Twitter and says ‘We’re in this location’ and you’re like OK we have now got money and we’ll ring a takeaway that’s near them and let’s send something in. The first number of drops were that.”

“Within about five days we’d 300+ suppliers sign up across the country. We’ve been working through that to try and find matches between that and all of the inbound information we’re getting.

“I guess one of the things I naively thought at the start of this, you know the pictures of hospital doctors that that was the response, but the response is a full system-wide emergency response. There’s people who are volunteering to go back into service to man the testing units, the drive through tests.

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We are honoured and delighted to be able to support our frontline workers up and down the country – like these heroes working on the #Covid19 wards at #UniversityHospitalKerry. . Some of the teams of heroes working on #Covid wards often have to isolate from colleagues to protect each other. By working with great food suppliers like @thebookshelfcoffee and setting up daily deliveries we are ensuring they don’t go hungry while doing it. With your donations and everyone’s support we’re making sure that our frontline have the sustenance they need to care for those battling this virus. We are showing our support and admiration for them as they work round the clock for us. . We really can’t thank you all enough. But with your donations we can continue showing our support for our #healthcareheroes and #FuellingTheFrontline. . We’re all in this together ??. . . #fuellingthefrontline #feedtheheroes #feedtheheroesire #tralee #kerry #hospital #foodforstrength #feedourfrontline #supportpurhealyhcareworkers #coronavirus #covid19 #stayhome #washyourhands #thankyou

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“The national ambulance service are obviously responsible for a huge amount. The Dublin Fire Brigade paramedic crews are doing the Dublin region. You have the people being redeployed from other parts of the public sector to do contact tracing in office blocks across the country. We wouldn’t nearly look at those spaces and think that’s a vital pillar of the national response.

“Lots of these people are dedicating 12 and 16 hour days. It’s not always guaranteed that they’ll be able to have a meal during that. There’s something very Irish about just feeding people out of gratitude and I think it sort of resonated with the public who’s sitting at home as a positive contribution they can make.”

All In, backed by AIB, is available everywhere you get your podcasts and on YouTube.