Soup Kitchen Record Broken - Medway
(a view from Philip Shannon )
More people turned up to this Sunday's Medway Soup Kitchen than ever before. We have become used to seeing 60-80 visitors but 105 was a record.
Feeding and serving drinks to this number of people can be a real challenge. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our regular cooking volunteers and the timely arrival of some extra, unexpected food donations, nobody left hungry and most people took away a bag of provisi...ons to keep them going.
The long, good-humoured queue of hungry people seemed extra patient as the servers in the food gazebo served up dish after dish, bag after bag, barely pausing to catch their breath before moving on to the next person. Tonight, there was not too much chance for chitchat.
But there was still time for people who needed extra assistance, to be seen - leaflets handed out, signposting to other agencies, and offers of advocacy and further meetings.
At the end of the evening everyone was tired and a bit dazed, but also upbeat and happy at a job well done. There is usually a positive buzz in the air after the Soup Kitchen ... the volunteers rarely seem in a hurry to get away. Tonight was no exception; we were really pleased that we had coped so well with the higher numbers.
But it didn't take long to realise that there was very little to be pleased about. Twenty-five or so extra hungry people needing food and a friendly face is nothing to celebrate. And then came the stark reminder of what this can mean in practice. One young man who had once been a frequent visitor to the Soup Kitchen had been found dead in Maidstone.
No, nothing to celebrate ... just a determination to make sure that the Soup Kitchen runs again next week.