Kosher meal hospital delivery service is a tonic for patients

Bedside Kosher is continuing its popular service during the lockdown

When Ari Feferkorn’s wife went into labour suddenly during a visit to New York, the family came to appreciate the free kosher meal delivery service provided by Chesed 24/7.

On his return, Mr Feferkorn — the businessman behind the JTrade and KTrade property and kosher food exhibitions — was inspired to launch Bedside Kosher in January, serving hospitals in the London area. Demand has continued through the pandemic and it is currently dispatching up to 50 meals a day.

“Most hospitals only offer defrosted kosher lunch and dinner,” Mr Feferkorn told the JC. “It’s not fresh.

And there’s no breakfast at all.”

Starting with lunches and dinners, Bedside Kosher soon expanded to offer breakfasts. Most of the food has been donated by catering companies. Before the lockdown, “they cooked for a party and then added another 30, 40 extra portions. It’s harder now during Covid but they’re still happy to give something to the community.”

Volunteers make the deliveries, often waiting at the hospital to make sure they reach the right patients. Bedside Kosher also liaises with Jewish emergency service Hatzola.

The menu is frequently rotated to offer fresh fish, chicken, vegetables and soup, with special provision for patients who might find it hard to swallow after surgery. There are also meals for children, who are often picky eaters. “We also give Shabbos meals. We deliver every Friday, bringing grape juice, chicken soup. We want people to have a feeling that it’s still Shabbos night.”

Mr Feferkorn said the feedback had been gratifying. “The fresh food has literally been a life-saver for many. We want people to use our service; we want people to get fresh food.

“We’re waiting for Covid to be over so we can sit down with hospitals to see what the way forward is. There’s no reason [Jewish patients] shouldn’t be offered fresh kosher food.”