Ealing Soup Kitchen is used to serving hundreds of meals to many homeless all across London. But in recent times, the level of demand is so high that now, the charity is serving in the thousands, and many newly homeless individuals and even families with small children are coming to meet them at this time due to the strain and financial hardship they are under.
The Ealing Soup Kitchen, pre-covid, had shower facilities, clothes, hairdressers, lawyers, doctors, podiatrists and advocates for housing throughout the week alongside hot, nutritious food to help many homeless and vulnerable escape the streets for good.
Now, with restrictions and tensions high in an uncertain period, the Soup Kitchen is adapting to find a ‘new normal’ to run effective services for anyone in need.
Throughout the coronavirus period, the charity, which has been going since 1973, has been issuing phones to the homeless visiting and working remotely to house many still on the streets, and has been taking orders for specific items many people don’t have, such as laptops, clothes and more.
But when the its own volunteers came down with coronavirus, Manager Andrew Mcleay felt they needed to expand and branch out into home deliveries for the community.
“It made a lot of sense – many people help us, now it’s our time to help them. Many of those who offered us financial support now needed a bit of a hand up, and if charities can’t rise to that, we’re doing something wrong”, he said.
The charity now, in addition to running three of its drop ins on Saturday, Sundays and Mondays, also deliver to close to 100 addresses not just in Ealing, but all around London. They say they are now serving almost a thousand with all the different activities they run for the community.
Mcleay stated: “Now we are serving so many per week it’s become difficult to serve such a high number of people. But our volunteers are rising to the challenge, packing and serving and cooking across the week to make so many meals for our community.
“We want to constantly be doing our best for a community that has long been forgotten, long before covid, long before Brexit, to show them London is full of people who do see them, who do care about them and love them, despite the opposition they face.”
Ealing Soup Kitchen is open Monday evenings from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Salvation Army W13 9HH and serving home deliveries Thursday evenings from 5 – 9pm, and weekends outside St John’s W13 9LA from 3:30 to 5pm