Borehamwood mother-of-two Katie Commissar Icklow is one of the drivers behind a support network for NHS staff that has raised thousands of pounds, delivered hundreds of meals and enlisted a mini-army of mothers and children to create protective medical visors.
Ms Commissar Icklow, a nail technician, began by setting up Facebook group ‘You Donate…We Deliver’ with her mother, Jackie Commissar, and friends David Beneviste and Sarah Laster. “Sarah told me her sister, an ICU nurse at the Royal Free Hospital, couldn’t eat during her long shifts, so I suggested sending packaged food to her and her colleagues,” said Ms Commissar Icklow. Mr Beneviste, a health insurance broker, offered to deliver it.
“They also needed phone chargers, mini toiletries and hot meals, as many of the staff are having to stay close to the hospitals,” added Ms Commissar Icklow.
The four have raised more than £40,000 via Go Fund Me page ‘Support NHS Heroes’, to purchase food as well as fridges and microwaves to be placed in medics’ breakout lounges.
“It takes too long to get out of the PPE and go to a canteen so they need to eat near the wards,” said Ms Commissar Icklow.
The group has also had many donations of food and materials.
The operation now includes sending hundreds of home-cooked meals, baked goods and snacks to several London hospitals, with more hospitals signing up. [Edited 14 April: As of today, they are sending almost 1,000 meals each day into a list of hospitals in London and Hertfordshire.]
“I have professional chefs and caterers cooking meals and baking in their homes, and mums baking. We’re also sending filled bagels and sandwiches to an ambulance station in Brent.
“They’ve set up a ‘snack bus’ which takes the food to all the ambulance stations,” said Ms Commissar Icklow.
Dr Deborah Braham, of Hammersmith Hospital, asked the group for protective visors for their teams.
In response, Mrs Laster sourced two pallets of materials — acetate sheets, foam bands and elastic — donated by Hobbycraft. The pair then commandeered an army of mothers and children to create the visors, which are now being used by teams at Hammersmith and Watford General.