Asian restaurants are distributing food boxes to Muslim medical staff for when they break their Ramadan fast.
The initiative is the idea of chef Rehan Uddin, owner of the Bombay Express restaurant at Torquay and managing director of the Asian Restaurant Owners’ Network.
The boxes handed to NHS workers contain water, mango juice, biscuits and dates, the traditional food for breaking the religious fast.
During the month of Ramadan, which ends on May 23, adult Muslims refrain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset.
The fast is broken with a meal called iftar and most will first drink water or eat dates, then have a normal meal.
He said: “Doctors and key workers in the NHS are saving lives while trying to fast at the same time, so we looked to see if there was any way we could help.”
So far restaurants in London, Essex, Weston-super-Mare and Oxford have joined the project and boxes were due to arrive in Torquay this week ready for the scheme to be launched.
Mr Uddin’s restaurant has also been donating food to key workers and vulnerable people in Torbay during the Covid-19 crisis.
Around 1,000 meals have been delivered to NHS and care workers over the last month.
The restaurant has also been supplying meals to be distributed through the Thrive Project, a community support hub based at Paignton, and Elite Community Gym in Torquay, which has become a food bank.
Mr Uddin’s family has owned the restaurant for 11 years, and his father Nizam, 68, has come out of retirement to help in the kitchen during the pandemic.
The coronavirus restrictions have meant adapting the business to supply customers with deliveries only from Thursday to Sunday evenings.
Mr Uddin and his father cook the extra food for distribution in the community during the afternoon.
The effort is being supported by fundraising through an appeal on the GoFundMe website, which has raised more than £500.
People can nominate people or groups to receive free meals using the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Recent deliveries have gone to health workers on the Covid-19 ward at Torbay Hospital, the radiology team, and staff at Torquay Ambulance Station.
Mr Uddin said: “We knew times were going to be tough for people in the area.”