A TULLOW café is fuelling the frontline by nourishing the doctors, nurses and staff of Ireland’s hospitals as they work around the clock in the fight against Covid-19.
Thrive Café, run by sisters Helen and Lorraine Demepriou (née Whelan from Ballyconnell), admirably decided last week to supply nutritious meals to the country’s leading hospitals for free to support medical staff working long, exhausting hours. Staff at the Mater Hospital, St Vincent’s, St James’s, Tallaght and St Luke’s in Kilkenny have all received meals from Thrive Café, giving them the sustenance they need at this tough time.
“We have a lot of nurses in our extended family and also family who work in different countries in situations that require disaster management and they all said that one of the biggest things is being hungry and tired but still having to work hard for long hours,” explained Helen.
“We feel passionate about nutrition and the importance of fuelling the body, so when we closed our own café last Saturday, we decided to make a few calls to doctors and medical professionals to see if there would be an interest,” she adds.
Many of the cafés within hospitals are now closed, with staff often working 12-hour shifts but just grabbing sugary snacks or convenience food to keep going.
“You can’t live that kind of life and make good decisions – life-saving decisions – without eating properly,” said Helen.
Lorraine adds: “Food is nutrition and really important in keeping a person going; this is about fuelling people to keep going, people who are so crucial at this time.”
The response from the hospitals has been incredible, as staff express their gratitude and heartfelt thanks. Thrive’s first food drop was to the Mater Hospital and since then they’ve received emails and messages about doctors actually dancing because they were so delighted to receive a wholesome meal.
“We got an email from a nurse at Beaumont Hospital to say the staff loved the food and that it actually boosted morale,” said Helen.
In recent days, Thrive Café has sent up a gofundme page so that people can donate and help the café continue its extraordinary gesture.
“It’s been amazing and an awful lot of the donations have been local. We’ve also been contacted by Kerry Foods, who have stock left over because the hotels and restaurants are closed. We hate food waste, so we are going to take that and make something out of it,” explains Helen.
The ladies are also mindful that they are really part of a team and, as mothers of young children, couldn’t do this without the support of their husbands Matthew and Michael who, incidentally, are siblings, too!
“This virus isn’t kind to anyone. We have to be so vigilant and respectful of what everyone is going through. There are still some people who just aren’t getting it or how serious this really is,” said Lorraine.