For hospital food charity Bedside Kosher, providing free fresh and healthy meals to Jewish hospital patients isn’t just about nutrition, it’s about bringing a taste of home into the wards.
Spending Yom Tov in hospital can be tough and lonely, but Bedside Kosher are there to bring light and warmth when it’s needed most. Each Yom Tov calls for its own menu and Bedside Kosher are committed to delivering customised fresh and gourmet meals of the highest standards.
Ari Feferkorn, Bedside Kosher’s founder, is proud of what his team achieved recently during Shavuos. “So many volunteers gave up their time over Shavuos to prepare and deliver meals. We went all the way, with cheesecake, of course, and blintzes, alongside many other treats. It was an emotional time for us, seeing so many happy faces.” The elaborate and festive Yom Tov meals Bedside Kosher delivered enabled hospital patients to have a true simchas Yom Tov and improved their spirits.
Ari set up the charity after discovering the current NHS kosher menu does not provide breakfast and all its meals are frozen.
With a strong community network of volunteers supporting his ambition to enable Jewish patients to have three fresh meals a day, creating a “taste of home until they get home” Ari has managed to deliver 50,000 meals during the pandemic.
And it’s not just about Shavuos. Bedside Kosher works tirelessly over all of the Yamim Tovim, such as Chanukah, Purim and Pesach, to ensure those in hospital are able to stay connected to their tradition. Each week, patients also enjoy a dedicated Shabbos meal, which includes a Kiddush cup, challos and grape juice. There is even a child-friendly menu available.
Bedside Kosher have recently received generous support from members of the public. A recent fundraiser raised over £370,000 in just 36 hours, which humbled Ari and the team.
“The pandemic has been tough,” Ari says. “But it’s also shown us the generous spirit that exists in our community. People have freely given up their time and money to help those in need get access to a proper hospital diet. It’s truly something special to be a part of that. Unfortunately, our overheads are huge, but because our people give their time freely, every penny we raise goes directly towards those vital hospital meals.”
Ari is particularly proud of how his team rallied for Shavuos. “Those desserts were amazing. We really brought a taste of home into the hospital. We’re so passionate about providing that link to our culture, even in hospitals. It helps morale, boosts mental health, and gives people that extra bit of lift that can aid their recovery.
“Thankfully, because Bedside Kosher’s phone lines are open around the clock, and our team is primed and ready to go that extra mile, nobody has to worry what they will eat for breakfast or whether their Shabbos meal will be Shabbosdig. Not on our watch.