Many people are looking for ways to help their elderly neighbors during the COVID-19 isolation period.
When the pandemic hit the U.K., chef Anthony O’Shaughnessy was placed on leave from his job as an instructor at Leeds Cookery School. He decided to shelter in place at his mother’s house in Newcastle, England, where his grandma once lived.
Early on, he and his mom decided to check in on Peter, a man in his 70s who lives next door. Peter had always looked after Anthony’s grandmother when she lived there, so they wanted to return the favor.
“I know he had some health complications, so I was worried he would be vulnerable,” Anthony said. “I started calling him to check on him, and he told me he was waiting for an online shopping delivery, but it had been canceled twice.”
That was all it took for Anthony, a 2018 semifinalist on the cooking show “MasterChef,” to start adding one more portion to his nightly meal preparations!
“My grandmother once lived in this house, and Peter helped care for her when she was poorly, doing her shopping and looking after the garden,” Anthony added. “I thought this was a way to return the favor. It’s what my grandmother would have wanted.”
Of course, he’s making sure to keep a safe distance between them. He simply places dinner on a tray by Peter’s door, rings the bell, and chats with him from six feet away to see how things are going.
As for Peter, he said, “I look forward to this every day.”
Since Anthony’s mom doesn’t always love the types of foods he prepares, Anthony has really enjoyed cooking for Peter. Peter served in the Navy, so he has a fondness for meals from around the world.
Now that their sweet story has gone viral on Twitter, Anthony hopes they will inspire more acts of kindness.
“People have been saying nice things as well, like they want to help their neighbors and stuff and it encouraged them to check on people around them,” he said. “I think that’s nice. I hope that’s a good thing people took away from it.”
What a fantastic way to share your talents, Anthony! Thank you for being such a good friend to Peter and for reminding all of us to check in with our neighbors. We never know who might be struggling!
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