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January Update from our Sponsors: Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen

The wonderful people at Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen are going full steam ahead with their plans to help end hunger poverty on Wearside - in part, thanks to the kind donations of the Roker Report readers and our friends at Christmas time!

A lot has happened since we launched our Christmas Fundraiser at the beginning of December and there’s a lot of news from our sponsors to fill you in on. There’s only one place we can start and that is by saying, once again, from everyone at Roker Report and Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen, just how grateful we are for all the money and awareness our readers raised.

The final total was a mind-blowing £31,655. This means that, thanks to your generosity, the Soup Kitchen is going to be £600 a week better off in 2021. That money will stretch a long, long, long way and have a huge impact on the lives of so many local people. The injection of funds will lead to not only an increase in the quantity of food that the Soup Kitchen can provide, but also in the quality of the food.

In terms of quantity, it means SCSK can extend their delivery service to four nights a week instead of three, they can distribute more food parcels, and they can really hit the ground running when their new takeaway opens its doors on Monday 1st February.

In terms of quality, Andrea and her team will be able to continue to pack even more meat, vegetables and fruit into the meals and food parcels they provide, meaning a healthier local community. Now more than ever, it’s important to keep our immune systems strong by eating nutritious food.

To tell you that Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen had a busy Christmas would be quite an understatement. With all hands on deck, working around the clock in the week leading up to the big day, they made Christmas wishes come true for more than 600 people. They were able to provide Christmas hampers so that families could cook their own Christmas dinner, three-course Christmas dinners, Christmas presents, handmade Christmas cards containing gift vouchers, Christmas breakfasts and Christmas teas – every part of Christmas was taken care of.

After a monumental effort from all the SCSK volunteers, the team took a well-deserved but short break, to recharge their batteries. Then, on the 1st of January, they were straight back at it, ready for a new year that is sure to be full of new challenges, hard graft and most importantly, hope.

The big news is that, after months of preparation, their new kitchen and takeaway in the heart of the city centre is ready to safely open its doors. From Monday 1st of February, ‘Albert’s Place’ on High Street West will be serving soup, hot drinks and much more to local people who are in need of a winter warmer.

But it’s not just food that Andrea and her team provide – there’s so much more to their work than that (far too much to squeeze into one article). If you don’t already follow them on Facebook, be sure to like their page, stay up to date and get involved.

Unlike a lot of the things you see on social media, their page actually gets people working together for the greater good. If SCSK come into contact with a family who need furniture, a stranger donates furniture. If they put out a request for a food donation, local people and businesses all put their hands up to provide. If they run into problems, people help them find solutions.

There are people of all ages getting involved by taking part in fundraisers, organising food collections and donating whatever they can. In short, local people are putting the ‘community’ into Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen.

You can’t help but be inspired by the stories. We are only a month into the year and so much good work has already been done. However, there’s one story, which Andrea shared in mid-January that really stands out:

May we share a sad but story with hope x

Unsure how? But someone got my personal phone number yesterday, he was a man desperate, no food, no electricity and after not being able to get assistance and wanted to end his life.

Living in a room after a breakup, no bedding except a duvet no cover, no pictures on wall and only a work coat. Laid off manufacturing last March, worked all his life. Just left his marital home with nothing.

May I point out, a lovely lady from council listened to me and helped with a voucher too. X

We asked him to come to Alberts Place and pick up some hot food, the team had tomato soup, mince in gravy with mash potato, turnip, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, with Jan”s home made cherry scones.

He was in tears! His first hot meal since Xmas day.

We put together a big food parcel as he’s not paid till 28th January. New warm coat, socks, hat, scarve, gloves, 2 fleece, trainers and shoes.

We bought him new bedding and towels and dropped off last night.

This man has gone from £400 a week to £360 a month. No addictions.

Just living in poverty. Paid early in December and just can’t make money stretch any further.

He sobbed...feeling ashamed, degraded, desperate and felt no point in living.

He just needed someone to care!

So, if you’ve donated to SCSK in any way, you’ve made this man matter.

By last night that man was a different person, a few trips back and forth last night (by the way he was thrilled with his coat, he never took it off whole evening). He was like a different man by 10.15pm last night.

Unsure how he got to me personally lol, but glad that this wasn’t another death statistic...

So if you ever need to know how important your warm coat or tinned food donation matters...please remember this story. A broken man, with no wish to live now feels he has hope and sees light at the end of his tunnel.

Very proud of our great team, who pulled together to sort this man x what a difference a little care and 12 hours can make to a persons life.

Hard to explain the feeling but glad we could help.

This man is one of many struggling at moment. Remember to show someone struggling a bit of kindness x

Just wanted to share a bit of sad but happy news from yesterday.

Small things can change the world x

The SCSK know the impact that issues like homelessness, financial difficulties and loneliness can have on mental health. In these socially distanced times, the caring service they provide is even more essential. Hopefully, the story of this gentleman will have a happy ending and he will be yet another success story for the team. His wouldn’t be the first and it certainly won’t be the last.

To continue their great work, the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen relies on the support of the whole community, a community that we’re proud to be a part of.

Once again, thank you to all of our readers for your continued support. We would be grateful if you all: