An ambulance paid for through fundraising organised by a rabbi’s wife delivered more than 12,500 meals to NHS workers and vulnerable people last month.
The specially adapted vehicle was a gift to the Ambulance Wish Foundation charity from London’s Jewish community, with Rebbetzen Freda Kaplan raising the money, and it has more than proved its worth during the coronavirus lockdown.
During normal times the ambulance is used to transport terminally-ill and non-mobile people in safety and comfort to fulfil a memorable final wish, but has been temporarily repurposed to help feed key workers and those most at-risk.
Throughout April volunteers delivered more than 12,500 essential food packages. This includes deliveries of essential food and packages on behalf of the United Synagogue, after one of the volunteering team came up with the idea of using the ambulance to transport meals until the lifting of travel restrictions.
By partnering with other charities and organisations such as Compassion London, The Felix Project, Gratitude and Morrisons supermarket, the ambulance dropped off 3,000 meals and food parcels in its first eight days of operation.
Deliveries have been made to Great Ormond Street Hospital ICU, Northwick Park Hospital, Romford Queens Hospital maternity unit, The Royal Marsden Hospital, Queen Charlotte Hospital maternity ICU, Royal Bethlem Hospital, London Ambulance Service HQ and Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, police and fire services, and a north London Muslim centre during Ramadan.
Peter Phillips, the volunteer who came up with the idea, said: “I realised that we had the most wonderful resource at our fingertips and it could be put to good use helping others in need given that we could not use the ambulance for its intended purpose.”