Families supported by Good Grub Initiative

By Aideen O'Flaherty

FAMILIES of schoolchildren from areas all over the county, including Tallaght, Clondalkin and Ballyfermot, who attend DEIS schools are being supported by the Good Grub Initiaitve, which is supplying fresh fruit and vegetables to those in need in the community during the course of the lockdown

St Ultan’s National School in Cherry Orchard is one of several local schools that is being supported by the initiative in providing healthy food to children from their school for the duration of the lockdown.

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Emma O’Reilly, Janice Kane and Brian Mahony, preparing meals to freeze for delivery

Good Grub is a not-for-profit initiative delivering over 25,000 nutritious fruit and vegetable parcels directly to the families of DEIS school children in Dublin during the lockdown, as some families are struggling to put food on the table.

Gary Jones, principal of St Ultan’s, told The Echo: “We’re part of the DEIS plan, so during the lockdown we’ve been given some money to purchase food for the children.

“Glanmore Foods used it to build a little pack with milk, bread and household stuff, and parents could opt-in to it if they needed the support. Of our 500 children, 275 of their families have opted-in to it.”

The Good Grub Initiative is the brainchild of Dennis O’Reilly from Difference Days, who got in touch with St Ultan’s when he received a donation of thousands of vegetables from Begley’s Farm to be distributed to the families of children in DEIS schools in Dublin.

Mr O’Reilly then set up Good Grub and is fundraising so Glanmore Foods can add fruit and veg to the basic packs they supply every week.

The food is being delivered using three vehicles and drivers that have been provided by local logistics company Green Tiger, with St Ultan’s staff dropping the food off at the houses.

The Good Grub Initiative has enabled the food packs to be supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables, including potatoes, onions, and apples, and the food parcels are a lifeline for many families.

Good Grub OReilly family volunteer team working together to pack fruit and veg packs compressor

O'Reilly family volunteer team working together to pack fruit and veg packs

“It’s practical help, because not a lot of parents can go out shopping,” explained Mr Jones. “There are a lot of single-parent families and they’d need to bring their kids with them to go shopping, but a lot of them don’t feel comfortable doing that at the minute.

“At least this way they know that there’ll be a delivery coming to their house every week, and it also enables us to check in on the families and maintain contact.”

The Good Grub Initiative is currently fundraising online at Good Grub to ensure that they can keep providing the fruit and veg deliveries to families in need during the lockdown, and at the time of going to print had raised over €123,000 of their €250,000 goal.

St Ultan’s is continuing to be responsive to the needs of the school community by, this week, starting to offer frozen meals that have been cooked on-site in the school’s industrial kitchen by the staff, to be handed out to the families in addition to the food parcels.

Wholesalers Musgraves are supporting the school’s meals service by providing packaging and freezer bags so they can deliver the food safely, and the service is being run in consultation with the Ballyfermot/Chapelizod Partnership.

“At a time when it’s really hard to leave your house,” explained Mr Jones, “we really feel the food project is making a big difference to people in Cherry Orchard, who know that we’re doing this and can see their local school being active in their community.”

Other schools that are being supported by the Good Grub Initiative include St Mary’s Junior and Senior National School in Rowlagh, Clondalkin; St John of Gods in Clondalkin and the South Dublin Partnership in Tallaght.

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