Hospitality steps up to feed the front lines

Hana Assafiri's restaurant is now catering for health care workers.
Hana Assafiri's restaurant is now catering for health care workers.  Photo: Justin McManus

The hospitality industry continues to shine in the dark. This week has seen a surge in businesses cooking meals for frontline health staff.

Hana Assafiri of Moroccan Soup Bar is unsurprisingly front and centre, now solely catering for those working in the hospitals, from doctors through to the sometimes forgotten administrative and cleaning staff, who also face risk.

The idea, says Assafiri, is to create a way for the community to say thank you to those on the frontline, by supplying a daily changing roster of nutritious meals.

Hana Assafiri of the Morroccan Soup Kitchen.
Hana Assafiri of the Morroccan Soup Kitchen. Photo: Simon Schluter

Asifri has cut down to a skeleton staff for safety. Individually packaged meals are then dropped off at a time agreed with the hospital to suit shifts. So far she is serving St Vincent's private and public hospitals and is in talks with Royal Melbourne. You can sponsor meals via ordermate.online/moroccansoupbar/menu.

Mork Chocolate in North Melbourne has been giving health workers free hot chocolate. Some stuck-at-home chefs,  such as Tori Bicknell, are passing the time by reaching out to their neighbourhood doctors and cooking for them directly. Alex Makes Meals, an initiative started by 20-year-old Alex Dekker began with just him cooking for his health worker sister, but has now expanded into a major operation with 100 volunteers and counting.

In countries  such as the US, #feedthefrontline is now trending on Instagram. From New York to New Orleans, those locked in are rushing to donate towards the campaign, in doing so, providing some restaurants with a much-needed revenue source.

While the efforts are being gratefully received, health care workers warn it is essential for donations to be going through official hospital channels, to ensure there is a need and so all parties remain safe. Some health care workers,  such as emergency nurse Emily Morris also want to encourage businesses to simply send through their take away menus and hours to hospitals so time-poor workers can support hospitality right back. 

"It's terrible, but we have the most job security of anyone right now. We want to make sure these places are there for us to have a wine or two on the other side."