A study undertaken earlier in the year by Shelter found that Newcastle, Gateshead, and County Durham currently have the highest numbers of complete homelessness across the North East region, with an estimated 232, 229 and 226, respectively. These statistics lie among last winter’s report in which 1250 people in the North east were reported to be homeless, including 360 children.
With such numbers constantly on the rise, charities across the region have felt the pressure, including The People’s Kitchen, one of Newcastle’s leading homeless charities. Since 1985, The People’s Kitchen has been helping the homeless, providing those in need with essential amenities such as regular hot meals, toiletries, mobile phones and sleeping bags. “Help a friend in need” they say, and with supportive donations they are able to provide an amazing 250+ meals a day, 365 days a year, with services available for mental wellbeing as well as help with finding housing.
This Christmas period has seen unprecedented tension for their supply and demand as more of their ‘friends’ are reported to be in need. This does not stop them, however, and with increased public support they can provide a light for those in need in these dark times.
As they do each year, The People’s Kitchen are relaunching their “Feed a Friend for a Fiver” Campaign, which gives the public a chance to donate £5 to them as the winter months draw in. Each year they have many Christmas celebrations, including a street party and a ‘live’ advent calendar. The street party will take place on 4 December and will give volunteers an opportunity to have some festive fun with those that they have the pleasure of helping. The ‘live’ advent calendar will also be brought back; each day a treat will be unveiled for each ‘friend’ that comes in for a meal.
A secret Santa service will also be available, ensuring that every child or grandchild of a People’s Kitchen ‘friend’ will receive a Christmas gift bag, each filled with a toy, a game, a book, and a selection box. Members of the public are encouraged to sponsor such gifts, and each sponsor costs £25 per bag. With such huge support across Newcastle, it is no wonder the organisation receives a large number of Christmas cards and well wishes.
This year, however, the People’s Kitchen is encouraging those who wish to send such lovely thoughts to donate instead of doing so, helping them spread more Christmas joy as the winter months get harsher. Having experienced the increased cost of buying and providing food (as many people have), the staff are extra grateful for donations; there has also been an increased number of people looking for help, and as each day gets slightly colder than the last, the need to provide is greater than ever.
There are plenty of ways to get involved with the amazing work they are doing. Volunteer roles are always available and are a fantastic way to feel rewarded whilst providing support within such an important community. If this is not something you can undertake, however, individual work is just as important in impacting someone’s life.
No matter how small a contribution, it is a vital part of the community that makes the People’s Kitchen so powerful. If you are unable to donate money, supplies are always welcome. Items such as clothing and even toys are greatly received over the Christmas period. The charity does provide an Amazon Wishlist if you wish to have a look further into what they need the most at any given time. Fundraiser events are always a fun way to get involved; whether you wish to set your own up or have a society get involved, every little act of giving helps them on their journey to a better life for their ‘friends.’
To give to their “Feed a Friend for a Fiver” Campaign, simply text KITCHEN5 to 70490 or go to https://justgiving.com/campaign/peopleskitchen-faffaf2023.