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Emergency staff given more food for thought

Big thanks: hospital staff show appreciation for free meals provided by local restaurants (Photograph supplied)

A restaurant’s free meal service for hospital emergency room staff has been extended to those caring for people hit with Covid-19 after an anonymous donor stumped up extra cash. The Little Venice Group will also use the anonymous donation to extend the scheme, which has run since April 10, to next Saturday.Emilio Barbieri, the managing director for Little Venice operator, the MEF Group, said that when the company was approached with a proposal to supply meals to essential workers essential workers at the hospital, “we could not say no”.Mr Barbieri added: “My co-directors, Jacky di Meglio and Teresa Chatfield, join me in applauding the Emergency Department’s commitment and hard work in extraordinary circumstances.”The scheme was the brainchild of Little Venice staff and Stanley James, the medical director of Premier Health and Wellness on King Street, Hamilton, who earlier teamed up with the restaurant to provide keto-style meals for his patients, in line with his clinic’s chronic disease reversal approach. Dr James said: “We got together and discussed doing something during the Covid-19 crisis and I suggested the frontline workers at the hospital.”But he added the anonymous donor had allowed the restaurant to also provide dinners to the “invisible warriors” who “knowingly go into an area with Covid-19 patients, not one, but a whole ward of them”.Dr James said: “We have had hospital workers who have contracted the disease — we don’t know where they got it, but the risk is real.“They are hidden heroes — while we’re sheltering in place, they can’t shelter in place.”He added Danny Lim, Little Venice’s executive chef, had called him last week and said that an earlier article in The Royal Gazette on the food programme had sparked a donation from the anonymous benefactor, who wanted Covid-19 care staff to benefit, too.Dr James said: “It’s heart-warming and great to know that people care. Somebody’s got to go in there and take care of these patients.”A spokesman for MEF said the company had been “grateful to be able to provide what we can to those that are risking their own health in these very extreme circumstances we find ourselves in”.He added: “We are humbled to see all the outreach undertaken by so many in the hospitality industry and are pleased that there are numerous initiatives to give back to our community. Many hands make light work.”The company thanked its anonymous backer’s generosity.The MEF spokesman said hospital staff were “overwhelmed by the kindness exhibited”.