What did you do during lockdown?
"What did you do during the lockdown?" This is the one question that will be asked for many years to come. Asking yourself this question is just as important. Did you learn a new skill online? Did you work through lockdown as a key-worker? Were you struggling through and being shielded? Did you binge-watch Game of Thrones or conquer Call of Duty Warzone? For many hospitality businesses, they either adapted or waited it out. Some, however, will have very inspirational stories to tell.
The Glasgow based hospitality group G1 confirmed to RedHanded Magazine that they have fed 10,000 people as part of a 4-week initiative to feed those who need it most. That's ten-thousand people! Entitled 'The Big Social Feed ' it's pop-up style kitchen which is based at the group's Glasgow city centre venue The Social. Run entirely by volunteers, their initial goal was to work with their food suppliers to try and feed 500 people per week for 3 weeks. Due to its popularity, they had to add a 4th date scheduled for 15th May.
Thanks to a huge outpouring of support from suppliers including Braehead Foods, Fresh Food Company, JB Foods, and Lomond Fine Foods, with Tennent’s Brewery and Barony Universal, also supporting the venture by supplying everything from water, juice, and crisps to anti-bacterial aerosol sprays, they've managed to smash all expectations.
On one day alone, last Friday 8th May, the group fed 5000 people. This has been achieved by a combination of their “grab & go” kitchen in the city centre, and also packaged food which was supplied to a range of charities, homeless shelters, and key workers. As well as hot food, the group has also worked with their suppliers to provide things like cakes, sweet treats, and essentials like flour and eggs to those who have kitchens of their own. The organisations which benefitted from the kitchen included Glasgow Mutual Aid, Help 4 The Homeless, Kirkwood Community Aid, Aspire Homeless Charity, Coatbridge Community Aid, and many more.
G1 is keen to advertise the kitchen as an “anyone welcome” affair, and as a result, had dozens of NHS and emergency workers as well as families down to eat. Chief Operating Officer Lesley Welsh said of the campaign-
“I cannot emphasise enough how proud we are of our teams who helped us deliver this mammoth achievement- it has taken many hours of cooking, setting up, and liaising with charities to ensure it all came together smoothly, and we just couldn’t have done it without them.
As a company, our eyes have really been opened to what we can achieve, and I was truly humbled by the levels of gratitude from people from all walks of life. We even had one young man who travelled to us by bike all the way from Ayr because he was struggling to find any sort of foodbank support where he lived. For me that really hits home and we were just all so happy to be able to contribute in a meaningful way during these unprecedented times.”
G1 said they were lucky enough to attract the attention of several celebrities who in turn helped promote the kitchen, including comedian Frankie Boyle, Clyde 1 Presenter Cassi, and several football players, with Rangers Star Glenn Middleton even kindly attending every week to help serve those in need. The final date for The Big Social Feed is this Friday 15th May, where once again all are welcome from 12.30pm.
So after 'lockdown limbo' finally becomes a thing of the past, despite all the obstacles placed in the hospitality industry's way, G1 group can say "we made a difference" when asked what they did during lockdown.