AN IT businessman from Basingstoke has been donating hundreds of food across Basingstoke this week to help feed key workers and vulnerable members of the community.

Jeff Smith has currently donated 150 Easter eggs to Basingstoke and North Hampshire hospital last Sunday and has continued to spread the joy throughout the week. 

Speaking exclusively to the Gazette, Jeff said: “It all started when a lunch meet up with my daughter was cancelled because she was needed on the ward.

“So I thought why not spread the love and help those working on the front line the best I could. I strongly believe in helping others and following suit and this was an easy way of achieving that”. 

His daughter, 19-year-old Danielle Chester, had her first 13-hour shift on Monday working as bank staff in the hospital. 

Danielle started working for at the hospital in October 2018 in the Intensive Care Unit however she is now one of the many bank staff meaning she works wherever she is most needed in the hospital. 

She said: “It’s been very busy, we’re all working our hardest but it’s nice to work with them [people who are suffering from Covid-19] because at the end of the day they are still human”. 

“When he turned up with all the chocolate I was so surprised but everyone loved it on the ward, we had swarms of people coming down to grab some”.

The following day, the 34-year-old teamed up with his lifelong friend, and owner of Leather and Willow Pizzeria, Shane Brewer to make 175 pizzas for the community. 

Shane and one of his co-workers made all of the homemade pizzas out of his mobile unit with an authentic wood-fired oven within a couple of hours for free. 

Danielle added:”Funnily enough, I forgot to bring my bank card this morning so I was really grateful when he turned up with all these pizzas”.

The pair shared out to the pizzas between the fire department, the ambulance service, supported living residents, patients on the accident and emergency ward and workers at the household waste centre. 

Jeff added: “It was like Christmas to all the patients on the A and E ward. They were really grateful for the pizzas because the only food the staff got in there is sandwiches so they were really happy for some hot food”. 

After the past few days of madness, Jeff still has plans to continue his charity work during the nationwide pandemic. 

He added: “We still have a few ideas planned to help those in need, I’m currently working with ASDA to buy 100 packets of pasta, 100 loaves of bread and 100 pints of milk to distribute to the community. 

“No one should have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get the basic essentials, and neither should they so hopefully this will lighten the burden”.

After the announcement from Downing Street on Monday, these plans are trying to be arranged in line with these new rules.