In a kind-hearted gesture, Yochy Davis offered her neighbours in Loughton some kosher chicken soup and kneidlach to help them battle against coronavirus.
Word soon got around that the “Jewish penicillin” was of such high quality — and delivered in personalised bags with challah and other goodies — that the Made With Love Chicken Soup run was established. It is now delivering to up to 100 households affected by the pandemic across Essex and beyond.
“It started with a few of my neighbours, then it spread through word of mouth,’’ Mrs Davis explained. “I wanted to help some of the elderly people who were in isolation, or people who had suffered the loss of a family member.
“There is a real mix of families — there’s a retired Egyptian doctor and a vicar’s widow.
“It’s grown and grown — the problem is I just can’t say no.’’
She could not have expanded the free service without the help of her friend Lesley Adams and two other assistants. Hundreds of kneidlach are being prepared to cope with the demand for the deliveries, made on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
A London team also makes drop-offs to homes in Hampstead and Borehamwood, Golders Green and Southgate and elsewhere while requests have been fulfilled from as far afield as Southend.
The care package typically contains three portions’ worth of soup and a week’s supply of challah, plus fruit salad and latkes.
For many customers, it’s their first taste of chicken soup and Mrs Davis credits its popularity to her own recipe.
“It has a bit of a twist to it,’’ she told the JC. “I put a bit of turmeric in which is healthy and gives it a really nice colour.’’
At the outset, she paid for the food herself but now receives donations from individuals and stores including La Boucherie, Village Deli and, from next week,the local Shalom Bakery.
“The community has been incredible,’’ she said.
“We have people offering money and buying ingredients. They are bringing eggs, matzah meal. I can’t stop crying because of the generosity.”