LONDON, ONT. -- The local chef and owner at Yoda’s Kitchen catering has created a 'Free Food Fund' to delivery healthy meals to those in need across London.

Yoda Olinyk realized there was a need for healthy plant-based foods in the community since the COVID-19 crisis has left those in highly vulnerable situations without easy and safe access.

“I started the COVID Free Food Fund because I saw a huge need for people to have a healthy meal during this really difficult time,” says Olinyk. “A lot of people are laid off work, people's incomes are really struggling, so I decided to give people the opportunity to have a healthy meal delivered to their door.”

What started as a post on social media asking if anyone would like some leftovers from her kitchen, turned into a free-of-charge delivery service.

“I have people saying, you know my neighbour's a senior, my cousin's in the vulnerable category, or I know this front-line worker I would really like to thank. All I need is their name, address and phone number. And then what I do is I make a meal for them and deliver it to their door.”

Yoda’s Kitchen is open and operating for delivery. You can order meals through the website as well as donate to the Free Food Fund.

A person can be nominated to receive a free delivery through the website.

Olinyk has also started delivering larger portions of packaged foods to organizations. A delivery is planned for April 15 to SafeSpace in London.

All money donated to the COVID-19 Free Food Fund will be used to purchase raw food products.

“I think it's important to offer plant-based food because we all know the more vegetables you eat the better the immune system is. The healthier you are the better you’ll be. I make things like lentil shepherd pie, spaghetti and beanballs…all these great vegan options.”

Olinyk says if an order is requested Monday at midnight, the food delivery will happen that same week on Thursday.

She delivers the food items herself. She leaves the packaged meals by their doorstep and sends them a text message to announce its arrival in order to practice physical distancing.

Jenna Goodhand, a friend and supporter, says these kinds of actions are what keep people going through this challenging time.

“I think like a lot of people in the community, we sort of feel helpless to help those in need right now, so through what Yoda is doing it has allowed me to not only help others in need, but I have had experiences with her and having her food show up to my house makes my day,” says Goodhand.

Olinyk hopes to keep making deliveries as long as possible.

“I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t cook for people. I have delivered hundreds of meals, I hope to make it into the thousands, as long as donations keep coming in and as long as I am able,” says Olinyk.