As Rosh Hashanah approaches, many of us are excited to embrace the start of the new year, surrounded by those we know and love. However, for those in hospital, celebrating a fresh start won’t be the same, not least because of the absence of fresh ingredients on the current NHS cultural menu. Thankfully, Bedside Kosher are once again stepping up to prepare and deliver a hearty L’shanah Tovah throughout the UK’s hospitals this September. And to ensure nobody goes without, the charity need your help.
Last year, Bedside Kosher’s volunteers pulled together an incredible Rosh Hashanah feast for hundreds of patients in hospital. The team worked night and day to ensure nobody had to rely on the NHS cultural menu to see them through this festive period. Volunteer trainers were also on hand to provide staff with the knowledge and techniques to serve kosher food appropriately.
“The excitement on the wards is palpable when we arrive, particularly when we lay on our special menus,” says Bedside Kosher CEO, Anthony Shaw. “Many of those we served couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It was a true taste of home, at a time when home seemed a world away.”
“When Rosh Hashanah comes around, I always make time to think about the things I have tried to achieve over the last year. This year, I will be thinking about how happy those people were in that moment, with everything else that was going on. And this year, we plan on doing it all again.”
In fact, Anthony and his army of volunteers have even bigger plans. “We’ve had to raise our game,” Anthony says. “Because at the moment, there is a growing number of our people in hospitals. And despite the increasing demand on our services and funds, I will not let them down.”
A taste of home
Anthony and the team are committed to bringing Bedside Kosher’s ‘taste of home’ menu to all those in need. From the parents at the bedside of critically ill children, to the old and vulnerable whose recovery hangs in the balance. During the Rosh Hashanah period, they can expect a traditional hot Yomtov meal, cholla, kiddush cup, grape juice, and fruit. There are also plans for take-home gifts, such as jars of honey and sweets.
“People in hospital don’t have much chance to celebrate, particularly when it comes to a Yom Tov. They’re shut off, in a sterile ward, likely surrounded by people who don’t observe the same religious holidays.
“They currently don’t have access to friends, family, or their local synagogue. Food is the only and best way to offer a lifeline to their cultural and religious life. That’s what we do. It’s not just about nutrition. It’s about offering hope, and a reminder that people out there, care. I’ve seen the course of people’s recovery change by our volunteers’ acts of kindness. And what I’m afraid of, as we experience a surge in demand, is that we won’t be able to help everybody.”
A 24/7 service
With thousands of meals required every week, throughout London and places like Manchester, the Bedside Kosher team are facing a period of incredible demand, not just for festive meals, but every day.
“As Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur approach, I must ask the wider community to help us achieve what we set out to do. At a time of year when we ask what is important in life and look at balancing the good and not so good things we have done, I’m asking those who can afford it, to please consider sponsoring a meal for our patients.
“We work for free, but we still need to source ingredients, preparation space and storage facilities, and these things cost a lot of money. Every penny you donate will go towards a meal for someone who is in hospital.”
Will you stand with Anthony and the team? For the cost of a meal, you could improve someone’s recovery prospects, and start your new year off with an act of kindness? Donate now.