Should poverty and hunger be issues faced by millions of people in the UK in the year 2020? The answer is no. Do you or I have the power to eradicate these problems overnight? Again, no. Can you or I do something to make a difference? Yes, we can.
By supporting the work of the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen, we can make a real difference to the lives of real people in our city.
This Christmas, we are asking the Sunderland family to help raise funds for Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen. If you aren’t already aware of the organisation and the vital work they carry out in the local community, please read on to find out more.
You can be certain that your donation, no matter how large or small, will be put to good use to provide help for local people who are in need of it. Your donation could mean the difference between a child going to bed with a full stomach or going to bed hungry. Or the difference between a parent being able to sleep at night knowing that there’s food in the fridge instead of lying awake all night, beside themselves with worry, wondering how they are going to put food on the table.
2020 has been a tough year for many people. If you aren’t able to donate, you can still contribute by sharing this article. It could reach the right person at the right time and make a difference to them, offering them a potential solution in their time of crisis. If you are reading this and you need some help, don’t be afraid to ask.
Last Year, we smashed it together!
Last Christmas, Roker Report set out to raise £1000 for the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen, and we were completely blown by your response. The donations just kept on coming - an incredible £8000 was donated in just ten days, and by the end we were sat with almost 19,000 in the pot.
This year we’re not setting any targets. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that best laid plans can often go out of the window. Our goal is to remind everyone that food poverty is a very real issue for millions of people in the UK, including many residents of Sunderland. The more awareness and money we manage to raise, the better.
YOUR Community Soup Kitchen
To give myself and all our readers a better understanding of what the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen does, I had the privilege of speaking to Andrea Bell, the driving force behind the project.
In one short article, it’s impossible to explain their story and everything they do for the local community, so I won’t even try. To put it simply, I’ll share with you Andrea’s response when I asked her what the donations would mean to the local community.
Every donation means that someone who would have gone hungry gets the food they need.
It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter how or why someone finds themself in need of help, they get help, often when they have nowhere else to turn.
Andrea is a straight-talker, overflowing with positivity and enthusiasm. As soon as she identifies a problem, she is already figuring out a way to solve it, with minimal fuss but with maximum care, attention and kindness.
For example, in early November a supporter of the charity got in touch to ask if they could make a donation to pay for Christmas dinner for a struggling family. Four days later, sixty donations had been received, meaning that sixty families who might otherwise have gone without will be enjoying Christmas dinner. By the end of November, meticulous plans had been put in place to ensure that these sixty families will all receive everything they need to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, as well as gifts, vouchers and handmade cards. This is in addition to the 150 Christmas dinners that had already been planned and will be delivered by a team of volunteers on December 25th. At the Community Soup Kitchen, going the extra mile is the bare minimum.
This is just one example of the amazing projects that they work tirelessly to make happen on a daily basis. It’s a testament not only to the passion, drive and organisational skills of Andrea and her team of dedicated volunteers but also to the kindness and generosity of the people of Sunderland and further afield who make donations.
The name ‘soup kitchen’ completely downplays just how much the organisation actually does. What sixteen months ago may have started as an idea to provide a handful of hungry people with a simple bowl of soup has quickly transformed into something much, much bigger.
The Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen stumbled upon a hunger problem that was much bigger than they first feared. Undaunted, they have risen to the challenge and now provide an emergency service for the people of Sunderland. When people ask for help, they get the help they need with no judgement, no hoops to jump through – just a warm welcome.
In a typical week, they deliver more than 400 three-course meals to local people. In pre-covid restriction times, this figure was closer to 800 a week and post-covid restrictions, there are plans to provide even more. In addition to these meals, they distribute hundreds of shopping bags full of good quality, nutritious food through their people’s food initiative.
And it’s not just food - they help source furniture and household goods, clothing and school uniforms, sleeping bags, toiletries and much more. Whatever people need, the volunteers, generous supporters and ever-expanding network of helpful local contacts find a way to make it happen.
While the numbers might be impressive, the impact that Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen has on the individuals they help is immeasurable. They pride themselves on treating people as people, not as numbers. They turn what many people imagine to be an uncomfortable or embarrassing situation into an experience that is dignified and even uplifting. Above all, they value people and make people feel valued and that’s one of the many reasons why they have succeeded in building such a strong reputation and have received so much support in such a short time.
In the face of a whole world of complications that Covid-19 has caused, they have adapted quickly and found a way to go from strength to strength. They have accomplished a huge amount, but they are keen to do more because more is needed. Despite their efforts, poverty is still on the rise and more and more people are struggling. This doesn’t mean that the team at Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen are going to throw in the towel. On the contrary, this means they are determined to work even harder and be even more ambitious with their plans for the future.
It’s a simple equation. The more people who need help, the more people Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen will help. And the more donations they receive, the more people they can help. It all makes a big difference and that’s why Roker Report are proud to support the work of the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen.
We thank you all in advance for caring about this issue, for spreading the important message and for making generous donations.