BY SALONEE MISTRY
A socially-enterprising Monash student is diverting food from closing and over-stocked restaurants to feed overworked healthcare staff, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seeing opportunity amid the chaos, Kaelan Alex Dekker, 20, developed Alex Makes Meals, which prepares a nutritious meal each day for Melbourne health care workers.
“The idea came to me when I was preparing a meal for my sister and her house-mate who are health-care workers,” Mr Dekker said.
“I realised that there were many more like the two of them who were working long hours and often forgot or did not have the time to eat proper meals,” he said.
“The last thing they should be thinking about, while trying to save lives, is where their next meal is coming from."
The second year Science and Global Studies student hit the ground running as soon as the idea came to him.
He is currently sourcing food and other supplies through donations and restaurants that are closing and have extra to spare, before the first prep begins tomorrow.
“A lot of people have been extremely kind in their donations with the food and other supplies to help this idea workout,” Mr Dekker said.
“I started a crowdfunding page on gofundme to collect funds when the idea came to me and it has already raised over $1000 in 48 hours, which is amazing.
“We have also been donated a warehouse where we will be prepping our meals, before our volunteers deliver them over Monday and Tuesday,” he said.
A dedicated team of volunteers is helping him, every step of the way.
Alex Makes Meals currently has about 100 doctors signed up to receive its meals, but that number is expected to grow rapidly, Mr Dekker said.
At the moment, the charity is gearing up to make 700 meals for the following week - one meal a day, for 100 doctors, for seven days.
The future of the charity post-pandemic is not something Mr Dekker has thought about.
“Who knows what we might be able to do or not do a few weeks down the line. It could turn out to be soup kitchen or just be (in operation) for the pandemic. It’s too soon to tell,” Mr Dekker said.
“What I am thankful for right now is the tremendous support and response we have got in terms of supplies, donations and volunteers helping out.
“We are still looking for people to help out and people are welcome to lend a helping hand.”
Victoria is currently in a lockdown, with only essential services operating.
As of 3pm today, there has been 3,005 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. Victoria has 574 people confirmed to have the disease.
The state government has urged everyone to stay at home and venture out only if absolutely essential.
You can volunteer with Alex Makes Meals by sending a message to their Facebook group. Here.
You can also donate to their gofundme campaign. Here.