A UK charity set up to provide hot meals to NHS staff working in Covid-19 wards has delivered 2,300 meals to three Belfast hospitals in less than a month.
The Meals for the NHS initiative was extended to Northern Ireland last month.
Dentist Eadaoin McKearney from Dungannon is appealing for donations to support the charity’s work.
Launched in the UK in March, Meals for the NHS supplied food to hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales. From April 27 this has included the Royal Victoria, Mater and Ulster Hospitals.
Ms McKearney said with help from the public, the charity could extend its reach to other hospitals.
She added: “Meals for the NHS is now supplying the Royal Victoria, Mater and Ulster Hospitals with 50 hot meals every evening in partnership with 12 food providers in and around Belfast.
“When the charity was first launched it received a lot of publicity and celebrity endorsements and became well-known amongst the general public there quickly.
“As it supplied meals to hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales but not Northern Ireland, naturally enough not many people here were aware of it. Before the lockdown I worked in a dental practice in Newcastle but came home to Dungannon after that. We have been working hard to get Meals for the NHS set up here and so far it has been going really well.
“The staff at the three hospitals we are delivering to have sent us some really touching messages about how much it means to them to get a hot meal.”
The charity buys the meals from local restaurants and food outlets and delivers them to each of the hospitals but its work is dependent on public donations.
Ms McKearney added: “As I am from Northern Ireland, I really wanted to get this charity up and running here and we have done well but I feel if people here were more aware of us we could continue to supply for a longer period of time.
“Most of the money donated to us has come through our website and that would be the easiest way for people here to donate as well.
“We are non-profit-making so every penny we get goes to getting hot meals to these very brave NHS front line workers.”