Independent businesses in Pontefract and Castleford are delivering meals to help the community
The restaurants and caterers are not ready to close just yet, they are serving food to the people who need it in a time of isolation and crisis.
Sid’s Pantry and Catering in Glasshoughton are keeping their shop open and delivering free school meals to the academies in Castleford.
Johnathan Barton, owner, said: “We usually deliver the free school meals to the schools in the area, but obviously with the schools closing there’s been a large reduction in that sense.
“We’re trying to do our bit, we're delivering meals to Three Lane Ends Academy and to the vulnerable who obviously can’t leave given the situation, there’s a lot to be done.”
Johnathan said that they also cater for many events and weddings.
he said: “We’re usually chocka blocked with stuff to do, catering is our hardest hit line of work and we’ve now got 10 weeks of cancelled work, maybe even longer, we’ve had wedding cancellations for August and September.
“It’s a big shift, we’re usually so busy then out of nowhere it all went, it’s a situation nobody asked for.
“We’ve got to keep calm and carry on and wait for the government and council to step in and help small businesses.
“It’s hard for us who are self employed with little to no income coming through and It’s not just catering companies who will struggle, there are many other lines of work who are suffering too.”
Michelle Beach who’s still working on the shop floor at Sid’s Pantry said: “It’s very stressful, everybody’s on edge, we can only let two customers in at a time on the shop floor and we’ve even had to ask people to leave.
“We’ve had the odd few ignorant people which can be quite upsetting.
“Businesswise, we've had about a 50 per cent drop, most of our staff have gone into isolation.
“We’re trying to battle it out and doing it until Friday, because there are schools that still rely on us - and we’re serving a couple of nurseries because the parents of these young children are working on the front line, for example police and NHS workers.
“We can’t pack in just yet because we’d be letting them down.”
Eateries in Pontefract are running similar initiatives, making and preparing take out meals for people who need it.
Debby Maizey of Pontefract’s Little Green Bistro has closed shop, but she is delivering meals to people who ask for them.
The Little Green Bistro is still in its first year of business and serves vegan and vegetarian cuisine.
She said: “For me, this is more about keeping busy and providing a service - my shop has shut but I’m providing a boxed takeaway for anyone who calls and asks for them, I’ve got a takeaway kids menu too.
“Every meal I cook I make from scratch, so it keeps me busy and it’s nice knowing I can provide food and a bit of interaction for people who need it.
“It can be soul destroying for people on their own, but I’d advise anyone to keep doing what you do best, for me it's cooking and it keeps a smile on peoples faces.
“And if you offer a service keep offering in it, just take the business head off put the community head on, we have to stay just stay positive it's not going to be something that’s sorted in a few weeks, so stay in position where you’ve got a bit of routine so if you can offer something to someone else then do it.
“At the end of the day, people will remember the good guys who did the right thing and nice things amongst all the selfishness and inconsiderate behaviour.”