Food for the Homeless

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Many of us witness the struggle of those without homes on the news or face to face in our own towns. But how many of us walk past with only a sympathetic thought? Do we acknowledge those living on the street, or simply walk by? In this blog post, we talk about the amazing work of those keen to help those in need and how we can contribute as a community.

Maidstone Day Centre

There are some support groups who take extra steps in helping the homeless - charitable companies such as ‘Homeless Care’. Homeless Care has been supporting homeless and vulnerable people for over 30 years, primarily at their ‘Day Centre’ facility in Maidstone. The Day Centre is located at 15 Knightrider Street and was formed to provide comfort, support and the opportunity for a brighter future to people going through tough times. The facility offers; hot showers, sleeping bags and blankets, home cooked meals, hot and cold drinks, a lounge with television, newspapers and books, and regular GP and mental health clinics. The team at Maidstone Day Centre offers someone to talk to, helping those in need deal with health issues, obtain identity documents and helps assist in finding accommodation.

Doing their part

LASER Energy's Data Analyst, Rehan Rasheed (with the help of his wife Aisha) have been contributing to this charitable cause for the past 5 years, pulling out all the stops to help. Rehan explained; “The Day Centre runs on charitable donations and they are always in need of any help they can get - the guys there do an amazing job. Most homeless people in the local area are aware of this location and come over for fresh meals.” He continues; “The Day Centre also shelters and supports vulnerable people of different age groups who are abandoned or who have left home to escape abusive family members.”

Rehan spread the word throughout the Commercial Services organisation in hope that staff would donate any excess and non-perishable food they have sitting in their cupboards unused. Once collected, the couple spend their own time cooking up a storm, creating meals using as many donated ingredients as possible. Any leftover food items that could not go directly into a meal, were then distributed on the streets of Maidstone and the Medway towns personally by Rehan and Aisha.

The response

There was an incredible response from all divisions of Commercial Services, filling 5 archive boxes with tinned food, pasta, rice, sauces, noodles, soup, herbs and spices. Rehan said; “I must say, that I was absolutely amazed to see the generosity and contribution the guys had made to this good cause. They donated a lot more than I could’ve thought and this was so greatly appreciated.”.

 

Time well spent

It was time for Rehan and Aisha to get to work! They spent last Sunday afternoon (30th September) shopping and cooking, preparing pasta with tomato sauce and mixed fruit pots, and bagging up remaining food items for their deliveries. By 8:30pm they left for the streets of Maidstone.

Maidstone town centre was unfortunately a bit quiet, Rehan could only find 5 homeless people to help so he moved on to Chatham and Gillingham. With thanks to Rehan, Aisha and the donations from the staff at Commercial Services, 18 homeless people had much needed food and drink delivered to them by midnight on 30th September. Rehan explained; “It was a great experience for me as always, and brings a positive feeling when those unfortunate people say they are very grateful and can’t thank you enough.”. Rehan goes on to say; “I am thinking of doing this multiple times a year. Next time I hope to donate all my collections to the Day Centre and cook meals for them so the homeless people who are already living in the shelter can get as much help as possible.”

How you can help

It doesn’t take much effort to join in on this wonderful cause. You don’t have to roam the streets yourself or spend hours in the kitchen. Anyone can contribute by donating any unwanted food items that are cluttering up your cupboards. Take some time and have a clear out, create the idea for a food drive in your office, get people on board and feel great! There are vulnerable people who could use your help.

A massive thank you to Rehan, Aisha, and all of those who contributed at Commercial Services, and to the amazing staff at Homeless Care and Maidstone Day Centre for their incredible work. For more information about Homeless Care, please visit their website at http://www.homelesscare.org.uk/index.html.

 

Rehan Rasheed

Data Analyst - LASER Energy