A group of friends who set up a network of volunteers to bring meals to NHS workers across London and Hertfordshire have been honoured with a Points of Light award from the prime minister.
Katie Icklow, 45, Sarah Laster, 39, Jackie Commissar, 69, and David Benveniste, 49, are helping deliver more than 1,200 meals a day to NHS staff through their“You Donate…..we deliver” Facebook group, founded in March.
The network of 80 volunteer delivery drivers and 10 professional chefs is backed by public donations raised on the crowdfunding platform Go Fund Me.
The initiative has seen more than 79,000 hot meals delivered to hospitals and care homes and over 12,250 sandwiches brought to ambulance crews.
The team received a personal letter from Prime Minister Boris Johnson during Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1 to 7 June.
The prime minister wrote: “As we begin Volunteers’ Week, there has never been a more fitting moment for our nation to say thank you to all those whose selfless acts of kindness have fortified the resilience of our communities and inspired our country with hope in the midst of the most difficult times.
“Such stories of service to others inspire my belief that we will not only beat this virus together but emerge a stronger, more generous and more sharing society.
“So I am lost in admiration for the fantastic success of ‘You Donate, We Deliver.’ Your network of chefs and delivery drivers are helping to sustain more than 2,100 of our wonderful NHS workers right across our capital city.”
Hertsmere MP and culture secretary Oliver Dowden commended “Sarah and her team’s hard work setting this up, from her Radlett home in my constituency, and running 7 days a week from Katie’s home in Borehamwood, deserves widespread recognition and I join the Prime Minister in congratulating their inspirational work.”
The team said in a joint-statement: “We started ‘You Donate, We Deliver’ as a way of helping a few family members and close friends working on the frontline in the NHS. Never did we intend to start anything on this scale or with this reach, either within the NHS, or within the community.
“The response and support that ‘You Donate, We Deliver’ has ignited and received is truly humbling and overwhelming, and we would like to use this opportunity not only to thank the prime minister for acknowledging our initiative with the Points of Light award, but to also publicly thank each and every person who has committed their support and involvement to ‘You Donate, We Deliver’ over the past few months.”
Hundreds of volunteers have been named “Points of Light” by the prime minister since the scheme was set up in the UK in 2014.
The award recognises “outstanding individual volunteers” who are making a change in their local community. Previous recipients include the Normandy veteran Mervyn Kersh, who was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 2015.