An Angus restaurateur who provided more than 1,000 free meals for children was so thrilled by the way people responded to his generosity he is extending his remarkable kindness.
As the entire country endures another lockdown, it has been heartening to see the number of food and drink businesses and producers doing incredible things to help in their local communities.
Many restaurants and cafes are providing free or discounted meals for children who are being home schooled or for parents working hard from home who find it difficult to get away from those Zoom calls.
Scott Learmonth at Rug Bug Bennys in Montrose handed out 757 meals for children down at parks in Montrose over the weekend where there was a choice of chicken nuggets and chips, sausages and chips, and fish fingers and chips.
With the initiative proving to be such an enormous success, Scott has continued his kindness this week extending it to other Angus towns having been given the use of a burger van from his mother, who has also provided a lot of stock, too.
On Monday, he was at Victoria Park in Arbroath before heading to Brechin on Tuesday where he was at the public park.
Hundreds more youngsters enjoyed his free meals there, too, taking him to a total just short of 1,300 for his remarkable effort – and it’s still going.
We had over 40 kids at our first visit to borrowfield which was amazing to see.One thing I did notice, so many people…
Today (Wednesday) and tomorrow, Scott will be in Montrose at Borrowfield, Ferryden and Butterfly parks where he will be handing out home-baking kits comprising weighed out ingredients people can use at home and bake with youngsters. The kits will also include cake cases and icing for decoration.
Scott has received many donations and, as a result of this, he has managed to put together 50 essential shopping bags which he will be leaving on the doorsteps of people who need them.
On Friday, the free meals for children will be available again at Borrowfield Park and Ferryden Park on Saturday. He is back at Butterfly Park on Sunday. The times for all three locations are from 1-2pm and 3-4pm.
So that’s our first week of meals done:Today was just over 290 In Brechin.Which puts us at a handful under 1300 for…
Scott has been overwhelmed by the response, but also feels a little sad that so many families need such a service.
“It’s been great. A lot busier than I expected. We didn’t expect to be hitting the numbers we have been hitting, but that’s a good thing, that is not a bad thing by any manner of means. It’s been a really good reaction and a lot of people using it as that is what it is there for,” said Scott.
“It all kind of came from all the posts about the UK Government bags to help feed your kids for a week and that was what it all stemmed from.
“For the price of what they are putting these bags out for we can basically feed 10 or 12 people for that price so we decided that we would just do some free meals, but in no way expected to be as busy as we have been.
“It is absolutely amazing, but also a little sad that 1,000 kids are needing a hot meal. However, it is good that they are coming to us and using the service.”
The team at Rug Bug Benny’s have been busy prepping all the meals – and people are so determined to help out with donations he is going to start a GoFundMe page, monies from which will go to help out other deserving causes.
“Our suppliers have given us a wee bit of discount, but 95% of it we are just funding ourselves,” he added.
“I had made a point of not taking any donations, but when you’re actually on site and people come up and hand you money it’s really difficult to say no, so we have been getting cash that way.
❤️❤️DONATIONS❤️❤️Ok here goes. This ones a bit of a hard subject for me… sorry for the novel but I guess it’s one of…
“We have started a GoFundMe page as so many people are trying to donate. I probably won’t use the cash myself for my own meals as I really want to fund it myself, but we can sort of help out foodbanks and other things with it.
“The baking bags have all the ingredients they need, all weighed out and instructions for them to bake a cake at home. More of a sort of learning thing for the kids and something that is a bit fun.
“Just from the donations we have had so far we have put together 50 shopping bags with the essentials in them so we will be handing them out on Thursday.
“We hadn’t planned doing meals on Wednesday and Thursday, but we probably will because the demand is so high.”
And we are done. Week 1. It’s been an experience. As I finish up today, absolutely baltic on the outside but a whole lot…
Free curry for NHS staff
Meanwhile, the Shaftesbury Hotel in Dundee gave away a free Shaftesbury special butter chicken curry to NHS workers last Wednesday as a token of thanks for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
And they plan to do it all again this week on Thursday when one butter chicken meal per person can be picked up by showing their NHS IS card.
Due to new rules being introduced last week regarding takeaway food, anyone coming to pick up a meal should sit in their car outside, call the hotel with their registration number and someone will take their food out.
If you do not have a car, simply call and wait outside and they will bring your meal out. The hotel has stressed that pre-orders and time for pick up would help them immensely.
Mohammed Misbahuddin of the Shaftesbury Hotel said: “We used to have the Tayview Hotel on the Broughty Ferry Road and we gave free meals to the NHS staff for two or three months when the pandemic started during the month of March and through April and May.
“It was really the minimum we could do to help then healthcare workers. If every restaurant in Dundee did one day they would enjoy so much. They have shown so much vigour and I feel it is important that they see someone caring for them as they are taking such a risk. I really felt if only I could do a little bit it would be something.
“Last week we enjoyed doing it so we decided to do it again this week. We are near to the NHS hospital so most of them finish their shift and come to hotel to pick up their meal. It worked well last week we did about 15-20 meals and this week we are expecting to do 50-70. People can pick up anytime between 5pm and 10pm.
“People picking up their free meals will enjoy a starter, butter chicken or chicken tikka masala, rice, nan bread and poppadoms. It is kind of a set meal for one and there might be a pudding in there, too, as a surprise.”
As a thank you gesture , we would like to offer all NHS staff a free curry meal . ‘Shaftesbury Special Butter Chicken’…
Helping those in need
In Newport-On-Tay, local bakery Kitschnbake has set up a service in which the team will make up and deliver school lunches and food parcels made from donated items for those who may be home schooling and struggling to juggle work and home life. They will also be delivering their popular homebaked goods locally for free.
MJ Duncan, owner of the bakery, says they will be teaming up with the Taybridgehead Foodbank to help get their school lunches and baked goods to those who need them.
MJ said: “We’re just hoping to give a little help to anyone struggling during this new lockdown. We would hate to think someone locally needs something we can provide and we weren’t on hand to do it. We’ve worked in conjunction with the brilliant team at Taybridgehead Foodbank for many years and they constantly inspire us with all their efforts.
“When this lockdown was announced we wanted to do something to help and with all the press about the shocking provision for those reliant on school lunches we thought it was an area in which we could help.
“As always, it’s a joint effort here at Kitschnbake and while the majority of deliveries will be done by myself, the family and staff are keen to help. We’re hoping to do school lunch drops on a Monday to make sure those who need them have provisions for the week ahead.
“Since offering to help we have been overwhelmed by the response and inundated with offers and donations. In the first 48 hours we delivered some crisis boxes over the weekend before the delivering of lunch provisions began in earnest on the Monday. Fresh fruit and veg, dairy products and a few sweet treats were provided alongside some staples. We didn’t forget the parents and popped some cheery daffodils in the first orders too.
“Those in need are referred to us either by the foodbank or by friends who are concerned or even send direct messages themselves. We help where we can and are happy to pass on details of other excellent organisations who are also able to provide support.
“It really does take a village and the fantastic response to our offer shows this. We have had hundreds of pounds donated towards funding these meals and even if we have to close due to new restrictions, we’ll provide these families with meals until the donations run out. We desperately hope to have brought some relief and joy to these families as well as reminding them there is help available even in the most bleakest of moments.”