Chefs at Nottingham’s Malt Cross venue showed true community spirit this lockdown by firing up their ovens to cook and deliver delicious free hot meals for YMCA’s residents and frontline keyworkers across Nottinghamshire and East Riding of Yorkshire.
Inspiration for the initiative to support the charity’s young residents arose when the hospitality sector was temporarily closed down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Determined to boost wellbeing and empower team members with a real sense of community purpose, Malt Cross’ chefs set to work planning a diverse menu so they could rustle up delicious fresh cuisines that would bring joy to YMCA’s formerly homeless supported housing residents.
Not only did the meals help ease residents’ financial worries and ensure they could enjoy high quality nourishing food when unable to go shopping due to self-isolating, but they also helped remind our community’s most vulnerable members that YMCA is here for them, especially in times of difficulty.
Great success spurred on the tenacious cooks to roll-out this initiative as ‘YMCA Staff Meals on Wheels’ to express the charity’s appreciation for keyworker team members in YMCA Housing, Children’s Residential Care, Maintenance and Domestics who have worked tirelessly through each lockdown to keep services users safe.
Cooked to order by skilled Malt Cross chefs Brett Skinner and Christian Colarieti, almost 350 restaurant standard re-heatable dishes were hand-delivered by Nottinghamshire YMCA’s Group CEO Craig Berens and Chair of Trustees Mike McKeever, who sportingly hit the road to deliver the meals across Nottingham, Mansfield, Worksop and Goole.
Chef Christian Colarieti, who has worked at the Malt Cross on St. James’ Street for six years, said: “With the pandemic seeing the closure of restaurant kitchens across the country, we thought what better way to keep our oven fires burning than by cooking up nutritious meals to help support the morale of our community’s vulnerable residents and vital frontline workers.
“It has been heart-warming to hear such positive feedback from recipients about how the meals made keyworkers feel valued and energised to continue supporting at-risk young people throughout the challenges of this year.”
One staff member said: “Not many companies have a CEO willing to get in their car and travel around the country to give their employees a hot meal. I felt teary to think YMCA cares that much about me personally.”
If you would like to support a YMCA resident or our keyworker teams, please visit: www.nottsymca.com/donate