As I write this article for the June edition of The Islander we are currently working our way through Phase 2 of the State of Alarm. Today is quite an epic day to write as Mallorca has seen its first day with no fatalities and no new infections which is amazing news. There is talk that we may enter Phase 3 early now and if we do I really hope that we can continue to build on the success that as an Island we have achieved by (mostly) adhering to the rules.
After gaining momentum following lasts months article highlighting the donations of PPE to the hospitals, I still felt that there was more that could be done and that we should be doing. Whilst we were having a BBQ, yes another BBQ, which in all honesty the novelty has begun to wear quite thin… I started to think if we were one of the unlucky ones, how would we survive? The worry of paying rent or mortgages, buying necessities and food is a huge struggle when there is no longer any income. There are so many people that have applied to the Government for assistance and have been refused, normal people like you and me are now looking at a very bleak future. I was told once that you are only one paycheck away from homelessness and to many this is a harsh reality. It was also on this day that I had read the heart-breaking news that the Associacio Tardor which is a volunteer ran soup kitchen in Palma had to close its doors early in the morning as they simply did not have anything left to give to the queues of people that were lining 3 streets and Yachting Gives Back were also being pushed to their limits to try and supply them with more food in order to help.
Anyway, back to the light bulb moment burger… I started to think how much money could I live on to feed my family of four if I needed to and what would I buy as essential food items? What would I cook to make things go a little further? You start with the basics, pasta, tomato sauces, stews and casseroles… I thought if you shopped really savvy perhaps we could do something with 20 euro… and here the #20 Euro Challenge was born. Steven looked at me slightly potty when I ran my idea past him… “You mean to say your just going to go the boats and ask people to give you 20 euro?” … “Yes, why not?” was my reply looking back at him, and that was that!
The next day I hit (not literally) my clients in STP and told them what I was doing and trying to achieve and everybody welcomed the idea, Captains and crew thought it was a fabulous initiative and I didn’t even have to finish my pitch on some boats as people generally want to help. I also read then about the amazing work one chef, Jan Richards had started on SY Panthalassa with the support of her Captain and crew. Jan had heard of the desperate plight of Tardor and began to cook a minimum of 20 meals a day (this figure grew rapidly) which she delivered herself to try and assist the overwhelmed volunteers. I decided that my 20 euro challenge would go to assisting Jan to help with buying more food, toiletries and basic needs and each day I would sit down with Jan and see what she needed to move forward the following day. Jan had also begun to find her own following of chefs that helped her to raise the daily meals being delivered, which was amazing! So whilst Jan dealt in logistics and cooking, I had the easy part of fundraising……!
Obviously I wanted to be as transparent as possible so I began with daily bulletins on Palma Yacht Crew with photos of your donations and the daily highlights so you could all see who was donating and how much was being raised. The feedback was immense and so many of you contacted me directly to see how you too could also take part in the #20 euro challenge. It also didn’t stop there, the generosity was more than monetary donations, I would go the greengrocers or butchers and explained what we were doing and they all wanted to add a little extra to the shopping which was so greatly received. I was contacted by crew who were in France, Germany and the UK who wanted to transfer money over to the pot as they felt although they weren’t in Mallorca at the moment they really wanted to try and help in any way they could to give back to the Island that had been so kind to them when they were here. I really cannot put into words how much people’s comments, donations, messages and general support kept me going. I initially said I would help for a few days to inject as much as possible to help Jan and the girls, but each morning I would wake to another message or donation that pushed me back out and to continue, I didn’t feel I could stop if there was more people that wanted to help and more money that could be raised.
The amount of things we were able to do really did help those who were at the forefront of this pandemic, we brought so many toiletries, nappies, cleaning equipment, meat, vegetables, baby food, pasta and rice. We were able to give cash directly to the amazing people cooking so they could shop themselves for what they needed, we were able to give cash directly to the Association so they had petty cash for emergencies and we were able to make donations directly to Yachting Gives Back so they could keep us in food containers for a while and to help top back up their fund that was constantly being spent on essentials also for the Soup Kitchen. I even managed to get the infamous 3 stove Steve in the Kitchen on a Sunday to whip up a Spaghetti Bolognaise to raise the number of meals for a day.
We had some wonderful support that I never expected, Europe Foods in Marratxi messaged to let me know we were welcome up to them any time for donations of food that would shortly be coming to the end of its shelf life and they wanted us to use it where we could as unfortunately food has to be disposed of here when it runs past its date, it is sad news and also a harsh reality when people are actually starving. We did not have enough freezers to cope with the sheer volume of food that they gave us, so this is a wonderful resource that we will be able to continue to use whilst we can.
I also have to give a special mention to Guy Hayward who was the Captain on Panthalassa whilst Jan was on her epic mission, not only did he support Jan incredibly, he brought me beer when I was collapsing on the boat in the afternoons to count up money (that’s always a winner in my book) and also when he returned for his well deserved break in the UK, he quickly sent over 2000 euro from his and his lovely wife Rosie’s Company The Groovy Food Company to our fund to help to keep things turning and people to continue to be fed. I also have to mention that unfortunately for us Jan has now returned to Italy, and has passed her legacy onto the wonderful Johnny Moloney of C’an Eduardo Restaurant who is continuing to cook and liaise with other chefs in order to supply nutritious, healthy meals to our most vulnerable.
I have slowed down my efforts over the last week as The Boss was becoming a little irritable and slightly demanding over my whereabouts and why I looked so bedraggled each day when I actually “hadn’t done any work” – his words!! However, there is still money in the pot, and between all you amazing human beings we managed to raise 5,400 in just over a week. It’s fantastic what can be achieved when communities and people come together to work for the same goal. I really hope that it has helped the vulnerable, the needy and the volunteers who continue to do what I did for a week on a daily basis all year round, I really think you deserve medals for your dedication. Whilst I cannot thank you all personally I hope I managed to include you in our heroes against hunger collage picture, apologies if your picture didn’t make it, but I have probably crashed Simons email system by now by resending the same pictures.. hehe. I also want to say I really couldn’t have done it without your generosity and support, I was simply a cog in the wheel that you all kept turning and together we helped support hundreds of people. I hope I can catch up with some of you soon for a well-deserved social distancing drink, until then please stay safe, healthy, and happy.
SR Coating Solutions