Family firm helping people of Corby donate O'Neill's Meals to homeless

'The real heroes are the people of Corby'

By Alison Bagley
Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 12:57 pm
Daren and daughter Nicole
Daren and daughter Nicole

A family-owned firm that has been supporting some of the most vulnerable people during lockdown has been thanked for its support of a homeless project in the town.

Dotrition and O'Neill's Meals, food companies founded by Daren O'Neill, have been providing meals to the Corby Homeless Project (CHP), run by East Northants Community Services, ever since the Dorking Walk facility opened in January 2020.

The personal trainer set up the Dotrition to provide freshly prepared healthy doorstep-delivered meals to his customers after he was asked for nutritional ready recipes by clients.

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Help the Homeless

Expanding his food empire, the father-of-six set up O'Neill's Meals with the company's success growing fast helped by his eldest children joining the family firm.

As well as providing up to 40 ready meals a week for residents of the Dorking Walk shelter, he has organised a donate a £1 for a meal initiative to fund the food parcels.

Lucy Brooks, resident engagement and project lead for CHP, said: "We think it's fantastic. We do have a kitchen here and we encourage the residents to cook but the meals Daren provides are very popular.

"Our residents thoroughly enjoy all of the meals and they are always so grateful.

Daren O'Neill

"We have told them about the fundraising that is done and how much each meal costs, they can never quite believe it. The meals are very, very healthy too.

"Some of the meals are used to feed people in other accommodation in the town handed out by the council's outreach worker."

CHP currently has nine residents, socially distanced in the bespoke accommodation with three people being found permanent homes over the past year.

Daren O'Neill, 42, has been keen to help the project using his motto 'Whilst We Can Help, We Will Help' to inspire others to follow his lead and donate what they can even if it is just one pound.

Daren and team delivering to the Corby Homeless Project with staff member Lydia McShefferty

His O'Neill's Meals has adopted Corby Homeless Project as its charity of the year

Director Daren, a former Our Lady and Pope John pupil, said: "I do it because I can. I suffer from a mental health condition and I'm sure that many of the homeless people themselves have mental health problems.

"I had quite a tough upbringing myself and if I can help I will, but the real heroes are the people of Corby for their continued support. I'm just the person who can stand up and ask.

"I do videos and ask people for just one pound. We have helped relentlessly for over a year now with the help from our lovely customers and this has definitely made a difference.

The meals

"On a weekly basis we drop meals off from ourselves to help ease some of the stresses from the charity.

"This means a huge deal for us and very, very close to my heart."

Helped by his children Erin Lee, Tyler, Nicole, Alex, Halle-Brooke and even youngest son Kai, three, helping with publicity, Daren wants to leave a legacy for his family.

Dotrition - specialising in high protein meals - and O'Neill's Meals are going from strength to strength.

Working from a professional kitchen on the Earlstree industrial estate, the company's team produces balanced healthy ready meals with a fleet of four delivery vans making the doorstep deliveries, employing three drivers and two nutritionists - as well as the family lending a hand.

Daren added: "Corby's a great place to live. We all don’t know where a wrong choice in life might lead, I have become successful but it could have been me in their place.

People can donate a pound that will pay for a meal for a homeless person

"I believe it is my duty to give back."

Anyone wanting to support Daren's work through Dotrition can click here to find out more.