An effort to assist people in rural parishes get healthy meals, which began within the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, has reached a milestone with expansion plans on the cards.
Director of Community Outreach with Slow Foods Barbados, Julie McNeel, said the organisation’s Slow Soup Drive, which celebrated its 50 000 servings landmark on Monday, needs more resources to make a greater impact on the communities it serves.
“We began in April 2020 as a response to the pandemic because we recognised that many Barbadians didn’t have access to high-quality locally-grown food. We have now seen an increased need for the soups we offer three days every week, in addition to more access to food generally, so we hope to expand our services,” McNeel said.
She said that, up to now, several chefs and farmers have come onboard with the programme which is predicated at Walkers Reserve, a former sand quarry in St Andrew that’s undergoing rehabilitation for agricultural purposes.
“We actually just released a cookbook which is out there now, featuring recipes from 22 chefs who’ve been on this programme with us, and we have now had over 30 chefs working with us over the past two years, in addition to quite a few farmers who’ve donated their crops to us,” McNeel said.
“We presently serve 100 soups a day – on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – to people living in St Andrew, St Peter and St Lucy. We also had clients in St Joseph but we had to offer that up recently because we didn’t have enough drivers to service that area adequately.”
McNeel, due to this fact, called on Barbadians to lend their support to the enterprise.
“Once you’re 16 years and older, you may are available in and assist within the kitchen and we give our drivers a stipend for his or her work. We’re happy with what we have now achieved up to now as this has been truly a collective effort locally we serve,” she said.
As they celebrated their accomplishment on Monday, Slow Foods brought in a special guest, Pierre Serrao, a chef with Barbadian roots who is predicated within the Bronx, New York where he is a component of the same collective organisation.
“My organisation, Ghetto Gastro, has worked with major brands in america and world wide to create culinary experiences primarily focused on organic products hailing from places like Africa, the Caribbean and South East Asia. Once I heard from Julie what Slow Foods was doing here, I made a decision to become involved since it is comparable to what I do within the Bronx, and my father was born here in Barbados and I used to be raised between here and america, so I actually have strong ties to this island,” he said.
Serrao said that folks generally needed to eat healthier and urged Barbadians to return out and assist with the Soup Drive.
“If we wish to look good, we have now to cook good, and you have got to eat proper food so as to perform at proper levels. It’s best to eat natural products from the earth, but considered one of the issues is that there are still many individuals on the market without proper access to healthy food. So, I might urge drivers and anyone else who can assist with this programme to return on out, just give some moments of your time and as you feed the people you may even feed your mind.” (DH)