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23 July 2021

Meet Alex Dekker, Alex Makes Meals Founder

As part of our We're In This Together interview series, we spoke to other Australian businesses on their journey through COVID-19 and here's what Alex Dekker, Alex Makes Meals Founder, has to say.

Alex Dekker profile

Alex wears our Henry Bib Apron in black with tan leather-look straps

Tell us about your business in a few sentences.

We are cooking free meals for doctors and nurses, delivered straight to your door for free! As this pandemic ramps up, health care professionals are going to be working harder than anyone should. The last thing doctors and nurses should be thinking about is where their next meal is coming from during this hectic time.

All money raised goes towards buying produce and preparing meals for medical professionals fighting COVID-19.

How did you come up with the idea of Alex Makes Meals?

My sister was working in the COVID-19 clinic at Monash Medical at the time. After she let slip how little she was eating due to her dedication to her job, I figured the least I could do was cook up a lasagne for her.

Thinking it would be taken up by maybe 10 people, I naively extended the offer to the facebook group Adopt a Healthcare Worker. Within a matter of hours I had hundreds of requests.

The solution was clear, back down or step up. A month and nearly 10,000 dishes later, I’d like to think we’ve done okay.

How many meals have you made for healthcare workers so far?

At the time of writing this, we have delivered 6,381 meals, not including deserts or snack packs, which usually outnumber meals. This week alone we are delivering over 3,000 additional meals.

In the past week we’ve expanded to NSW, something none of us ever expected. While delivery numbers will remain comparable low while we find industry partners.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received during this time?

There is a point in between small and large company size where you cannot survive. Where you simply do not have the resources to achieve the efficiency you would need to remain viable.

Thanks to the massive public response, we reached this point in the first week. We had a choice, grow or die, and if we chose to die, we would be letting all our frontline staff down.

How are you and your volunteers keeping up morale?

The world is a pretty bleak place right now, AMM kitchens are a pleasant exception. All our volunteers are here solely because they want to help out, and that creates an incredibly motivated workforce. Enthusiasm is contagious, so very little is needed to make sure everyone is having fun.

That being said, a bit of music goes a long way.

Alex and volunteers

What’s been the biggest surprise or thing you didn’t expect since starting Alex Makes Meals?

I have never been surprised by the amount of people willing to get behind this movement. I’ve always known that Australian’s were capable of getting behind a movement like this. The only thing that did surprise me is this time I’m at the helm. I never imagined we’d expand interstate though, took me a while to process it after we got that offer.

What do you think will be the biggest positive change after we’ve recovered?

Once we recover we are going to have some big choices to make as a country. Not the least of which is how we treat those on the front-lines of crisis. It was clear during this summer’s bushfires that we do not have a system capable of providing adequate support, and it has only become more obvious during this pandemic.

Learn more about Alex Makes Meals

Instagram: @alexmakesmeals
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