Curry4Covid is an initiative started by chef Bobby Kapoor of Dubai-based catering company, Classic Catering to feed people in need amidst the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
This, however, is not a first-of-its-kind initiative for Classic Catering, which has been undertaking the annual ‘Feed One More’ Ramadan campaign since the last few years. As part of the ‘Feed One More’ campaign, Classic Catering has been preparing and delivering Iftar meals to labourers and workers in Dubai over the past five eyes.
But this year is different, as COVID-19 has adversely affected businesses and individuals globally, especially low-wage earners who are forced into unimaginable adversity. Hence, Classic Catering began providing healthy, sanitised and packed meals to labour camps in Jebel Ali and Dubai Investments Park (DIP) much ahead of Ramadan.
Initially, Classic Catering started preparing meals for its own staff amidst the initial lockdown phase and movement restrictions in the UAE. Eventually two of the companies that it works with reached out to understand what they could do for some of their quarantined employees. Classic Catering decided to send food to them as well, starting April 3, 2020. Since then, food packages are being prepared and delivered every day, with the daily average increasing steadily.
“Why wait until tomorrow, when the need of the hour is immediate. As part of Curry4Covid, we have already done more than 300,000 meals, so far,” shares Kapoor. “Last year during Ramadan we did around 190,000 meals, and this year we hope to exceed that number. We are partly funding it on our own, but will not be able to do so for too long. As more people join us, we will be able to do much more. We want to do offer 5,000-6,000 meals per day. And, in fact, we have already received donations for 30,000 meals during Ramadan.”
This year, Classic Catering has joined hands with government-led initiatives to offer meals to those in need, abiding by the set health and safety guidelines. “We have joined the ‘10 million meals’ campaign announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. For Ramadan, we have collaborated with the UAE Food Bank to make biriyani packs priced at AED8.”
Since contactless communication is being encouraged, Classic Catering has collaborated with a local entrepreneur who has enlisted Curry4Covid on an app called KIDDO. Those who are interested to donate food can simply download the KIDDO app, look for Curry4Covid and pay on the app for the number of meals they wish to sponsor. Alternatively, they can e-mail to the Classic Catering team at [email protected].
When asked about business continuity while doing good, Kapoor admits, “It has been incredibly challenging. But thinking about business continuity is the next step, First, we have to get through this phase. There is fear in the market. I run a food solutions company and I have seen businesses across markets being challenged. The actual COVID-19 fallout will become visible in short, medium and long terms. Some sort of normalcy is expected towards September, which means we have to sustain, somehow, until then.”
As of now, Kapoor is focused on joining hands with government-driven initiatives and the community to make a real difference to those in need. He is actively reaching out to sponsors, companies and individuals who are keen to donate meals to those in need, change lives and bring smiles. Kapoor strongly believes that contributions of funds, raw ingredients, packaging materials and delivery solutions will go a long way in converting a well-meaning intent into an action.
“After all, humanity is stronger than a microorganism. Let’s help those who are most vulnerable and probably lonely right now,” he concludes.