A RESTAURANT in Reading has begun cooking 100 meals every day to donate to vulnerable people in Whitley during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Clay’s Hyderabadi Kitchen, on London Street, is donating the meals through the Whitley Community Development Association (CDA), who will then distribute the food.

One of the organisers and restaurant managers, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “The aim is to do it for as long as possible, at least 10 more days. It depends on how long the lockdown goes on and the funds we have in our account.”

“It’s just me and my husband doing all the cooking and cleaning. We’re paying for it ourselves.”

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The manager described how it takes them two hours to prepare the food, then five hours to cook the 100 meals. The restaurant began the project on April 14, with tomato dal and chicken curry. On the menu for the rest of the week is lamb mince and a red lentil dal, hard boiled egg curry, and then chickpeas and sausages.

The meals will go to vulnerable people as part of the food parcels delivered by the Whitley CDA.

Trisha Bennett, community development coordinator at the CDA, said: “We’ve been delivering up to 50 food parcels every day, five days a week.”

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Over the past three weeks, she said the CDA has delivered 412 food parcels, feeding 942 people.

As well as Clay’s, a lot of the food comes from local shops, like Marks & Spencer who have donated bread, pastries and eggs, and also the catering service at the University of Reading.

Because of the local support, the CDA has been able to deliver fresh meat, fruit, teabags and coffee, and fresh milk. Ms Bennett said: “It has just been phenomenal.”

The parcels are donated to elderly and vulnerable people across Whitley, who have been hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Ms Bennett said a lot of people on furlough have also needed help, as some were just getting by on 100 per cent of their pay. She said one woman told her: “That 20 per cent that’s missing, is what I would have fed myself with.”

Yesterday (April 14) morning in Aldi, Ms Bennett said a stranger in the queue paid for all of the £78 worth of supplies that Whitley CDA volunteers were buying. But the generous man refused to give him his name or any contact details.

Asked how people can help, Ms Bennett added: “We always need tins of food. And we need people to alert us to where the vulnerable people are.”

People in Whitley needing help or who want to alert the CDA to vulnerable people can get in touch via Facebook, their website, or calling Ms Bennett on 07799 146 615, or emailing cd@whitley-cda.org.