Let’s change the way we think about community support after Covid
- Credit: Beccy Strong - beccystrong.com
During the coronavirus lockdown the team at Eat That Frog turned their community kitchen and over-50s lunch club into a meal delivery service, providing healthy meals seven days a week for some of the most vulnerable, elderly and at-risk local residents.
Community co-ordinator Nina Pierson said: “We could see the way things were heading, with people panic-buying in supermarkets, and realised we needed to step up to the plate and take care of our community.”
Over the last year, the small team at The Pad in Paignton, with support from volunteers and colleagues across the company, have provided well over 15,000 meals and many thousands of food bags, but just as importantly, used their contacts to ‘recycle’ many tons of surplus food donated to them by supermarkets and catering firms back out to food bank partners in the Torbay Food Alliance and across South Devon.
Nina said: “Every week Eat That Frog collects ‘close to expiry date’ food from local supermarkets - it gives us free produce to turn into healthy meals, and without us, all that food would go to landfill. When you see how much is thrown away by individuals and suppliers, you have to do something, especially when you know how many people are struggling to stay fed.”
For ten years, training and education has been Eat That Frog’s mission, helping people overcome barriers to a good life, getting them back into work, and offering support.
During Covid, Eat That Frog was one of the first training providers to offer local people online sessions supporting mental health and physical wellbeing, completely free of charge.
Eat That Frog are working incredibly hard to help people back into employment via free training and support, and on projects to reduce loneliness and help people feel safe again.
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Nina said: “There are so many people in our communities who are quietly struggling, but they don’t need expensive interventions, they just need someone to keep an eye on them, to make sure they’re taking care of themselves.
"Once Covid restrictions lift, having people meet-up at Eat That Frog centres where they can improve their skills, access healthy food and have a chat every week will be a real life-saver - and could save social services and the NHS thousands of pounds in the long-run.”