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Donating free meals to vulnerable families in the community

All the examples in this case study are real but details have been omitted to preserve confidentiality.

My husband and I go to a local church and we wanted to bless people in these unprecedentedly challenging times. We contacted Sycamore Dining in November 2020, during the second national lockdown, to ask how we could order meals to be delivered to people in need. Sycamore Dining did more than we could possibly have dreamed of in responding to our request.

Since November, Sycamore Dining have delivered or are booked in to deliver 648 nutritious meals to people in need and the number of meals increases week on week. Without a doubt, Sycamore Dining have been a lifeline for many individuals and families who have contacted me from a place of need. I posted in the ‘Nottingham Covid-19 Mutual Aid’ Facebook group asking for people in need, or people who know someone in need, to contact me. The group has over 20,600 members and Sycamore Dining has delivered regular free cooked meals to every person who has contacted me who is in need and in the Nottingham City area or vicinity.

I have spoken to families who tell me that they can only afford or only manage to cook basic meals such as beans on bread; parents who have had to go without a meal so that their children can have food; families who, before the Covid-19 pandemic, have never struggled financially but are needing help for the first time; individuals with health issues who struggle to leave their home and go to the supermarket especially during the pandemic; families who lack basic cooking facilities such as a cooker or oven; people who have previously been homeless; families who have tried to contact food banks but haven’t received a response; people who live too far away from food banks; and individuals who are shielding at home because of health conditions – to name a few.


There are amazing initiatives out there such as food banks, hot meals provided at churches and community centres and the ‘Free My Meal’ Facebook group which connects people willing to cook for others in need. What makes Sycamore Dining unique, though, is their readiness to deliver meals right to people’s doors: people who contact me are often unable to go and pick up a meal or food parcel from somewhere else and in any case, would be risking exposure to Covid-19 on public transport to do so. 

The pandemic has exacerbated need. Individuals have nominated older family members living on their own for a cooked meal; family members who are unable to cook for themselves. Before the pandemic, I am told that those older family members would have received more help from family but the risks associated with being a frontline keyworker or home-schooling children has meant they are not able to support family members as much as they would want to. This is where Sycamore Dining has stepped in.

I cannot count the number of times I’ve received messages sharing that ‘the cooked meals helped so much’ or are a ‘big help’. I cannot count the number of messages of encouragement that I’ve received to say ‘keep up the amazing work’. Thank you Sycamore Dining for being a lifeline for so many families and individuals at this time!

Jessica W

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