Last Thursday I had the opportunity to volunteer in the food kitchen at The Connection at St-Martin-in-the-Fields, a registered homeless charity in central London. I registered to participate in November last year, but 18th January was the first available slot.
The Connection helps over 4500 homeless people in London a year recover from the trauma of homelessness, located in Trafalgar Square, they work around the clock to provide immediate relief from homelessness and long term support leading to housing, work, and independence. They also have a food kitchen providing a variety of hot nutritious meals at very low prices.
I arrived just before my time slot of 11:15am and was warmly welcomed by Bruce and Debby, part of the kitchen team, who showed me the ropes. The kitchen opened for lunch service at 11:30am and I had 15 minutes to learn the menu, serving sizes, costs, token/voucher allowances, how to work the till, as well as receiving food from the kitchen and setting it up for service!
I was joined by a woman who works on the top floor of my work building, as the team that run and manage our building, provide two volunteers to The Connection every Thursday.
From open till close we had a heavy stream of clients – I had the pleasure of meeting many individuals with different stories and a massive variety of backgrounds. Some there just for warmth and a hot cup of tea or nutritious meal, others taking advantage of the showers, laundry room, telephones, PCs, assessments, in-house training, attending workshops and/or NHS medical sessions..
As we had a full on service I had no opportunities to take any photos – but I did take this one as I left…
Photos: Clare S, 2018, The Connection at St-Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London