More than 10,000 free hot meals have been cooked and delivered by volunteers to those in need in Paphos during the Covid-19 pandemic. They have now decided to wrap up the service next Friday.
Chalkies Bar in Coral Bay in Peyia is currently closed due to the pandemic. It has re-branded itself as a volunteering initiative ‘Chalkies Kitchen,’ to help the community.
“Yesterday was a massive milestone, over 10,000 meals served with no money, help or support from the local authorities or the government.
A pretty sad state of affairs when the local community helped in such a massive way, but the authorities looked away,” they said on Friday.
Owners, Tony Theo and Judy Mitra, decided they wanted to do something practical to help after hearing that there were many people in the Paphos district without money or food.
Even though one of the Paphos businesses forced to close, they decided that they wanted to support as many people as possible, by providing them with a daily free hot food delivery service.
Along with a group of their staff and volunteers that give free time every day, and donations from the public, they have helped hundreds of people.
“We have had to decide as to whether we can carry on with our service and to be honest with fewer donations coming in, volunteers and helpers becoming increasingly worn out and our need to start to work and pay our way we have agreed that we will stop next Friday 5th June,” they added.
However, they intend to offer another method of support to those in need and have started a “pay it forward ” scheme.
“We hope we can encourage several Paphos bars, cafes, and restaurants to participate and offer to take away meals at cost price. As Chalkie’s bar, we will do it, as well as Carpe Diem. We hope that others will follow suit.”
Through donations, those who are really in need will be given meal vouchers that they can present at participating establishments in return for a hot meal.
The bar/restaurant/cafe will then redeem the coupon from the donations that have been given.
“If you know of any bar or restaurant in the Kissonerga, Chlorakas, the Tombs of the Kings, Kato Paphos, Geroskipou, Paphos Old Town, Emba, Tala, Mesoyi, Peyia, Coral Bay or other areas that may be interested in helping those who are desperate, please ask them to contact us,” they said.
The group have been feeding and supporting many people, including hotel and other seasonal workers and casual workers.
They have no income or are yet to receive any money from the state. Some have no electricity or gas and are behind with rent payments or other bills.
“We don’t want to stop what we are doing, and we feel very guilty about this decision, but we have no alternative.
Hopefully, the ‘pay it forward’ scheme will mean that we can still help the most deserving cases.”