DOZENS of fresh ready-made meals have been delivered to families across Ballyphehane and the wider are as part of the school meals programme at a local school.
With the help of Ó Crualaoí’s Butchers, Coláiste Éamann Rís provides school meals to every student under the DEIS schools scheme, which is part-financed by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
However, the scheme was paused since all schools across Ireland were ordered to close last month and, with many parents losing jobs as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, Ó Crualaoí’s and the school teamed up again to help families in need.
Coláiste Éamann Rís reached out to the parents of its students and asked anyone who needed support to apply for a home-delivery meal scheme, provided free-of-charge.
Similar initiatives have begun in other schools, including the North Monastery on the northside of the city.
“It’s extremely important because a lot of families have lost their main income,” explained Aaron Wolfe, acting principal of Coláiste Éamann Rís.
“This is not necessarily going to underprivileged families - it’s going to families who, because of the circumstances, have lost their forms of income.
“It’s a very sad situation - in some cases both parents are out of work now and they’ve children at home in big families in some cases,” he added.
“In one situation, there’s a mother who is self-isolating and she can’t get to the shops or anything so this is a huge help.
“This is a great initiative to support them through this time and huge thanks to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for agreeing to reallocate the funds to this.”
Mr Wolfe explained that, when the school is open, every student avails of the freshly cooked meals, and that during this difficult time, the school and Ó’Crualaoí’s wanted to ensure students still had this option.
“When the school is open, all 330 students in the school get their free meal cooked by Ó Crualaoí’s,” he said.
“During this difficult time, we asked our students and their families if anyone needed help with meals and things like that, and some did.
“Ó Crualaoí’s have made hampers full of fresh meals and they’re delivering them to the door,” he added.
Managing director of Ó Crualaoí’s, Francis Twohig, told The Echo that the home delivery service is supporting families in Cork, keeping staff busy and adhering to the social distancing guidelines set forth by the government.
“It’s a great way of ensuring people are still getting their meals while also social distancing - we drop the meals at the door and let them know it’s there so there’s no interaction and it falls within the measures that the government are trying to support,” he explained.
“We do one delivery a week with fresh ready-to-go meals to the 30 or 40 houses that have applied for the home delivery scheme at Coláiste Éamann Rís.
“They can put them in the microwave or the oven for a few minutes and they’re ready to go,” he added.
“We drop off milk, cereal, sliced pans, curries and lasagnes and more. Ó Crualaoí’s also provided school meals for other schools across Cork before the outbreak forced widespread closures.
Mr Twohig said that the home delivery service could be expanded in the coming weeks to cater for other schools in Cork.
“We have had enquiries from other schools around Cork so we are hoping to roll it out further in the coming weeks.
“It’s great for us and our staff as well as the shops have gone quiet but we’re keeping busy with this.”