Streets Kitchen provides and facilitates hot food and drinks, clothes, medical care, veterinary care, as well as advice, support and community outreach at around ten locations across London. Working in partnership with other groups, our members are on the street every night of the week. We also run a free cafe and shop, as well as workshops, clinics and drop-in sessions at our Solidarity Centre in Holloway.
But when we started out, we were just a small group of volunteers, cooking out of our kitchens, standing out on Camden High Street one night a week – it’s that easy! Here’s how to do it yourself if you’re thinking about starting your own Streets Kitchen…
Go out and find some like-minded people willing to commit their time – they’re out there! We have an existing volunteer database that’s growing, email us when you set-up in your area and we might already have people who could help you.
Almost all the food we cook is donated to us. Who in your area could help you? Cafés, supermarkets, restaurants and market traders are all worth asking – get creative! Try these too: planzheroes.org | thefelixproject.org | fareshare.org.uk | cityharvest.org.uk | Olio – food sharing
- COOKING EQUIPMENT
You’re going to need big pots and pans, tables, as well as serving equipment, cutlery and plates (recyclable/compostable only please!). Get in touch with us and we can probably give you some gear to get you started!
Take your time to get to know your local area, and put some thought into where might be a good location for your Streets Kitchen. There are plenty of factors to account for: be visible, but not too exposed to the elements, and somewhere that your guests will be able to feel relaxed.
- LOCAL SUPPORT
Get thinking: who could provide free second-hand clothes or organise a donation drive? What about housing or benefits advice? Streets Kitchen and Refugee Community Kitchen (RCK) can help advise you on getting some flyers printed, and StreetVet are always looking for new locations!
The most important thing you can do to grow your Streets Kitchen is to be where you said you’d be, when you said you’d be there. Every week. Speak with your local homeless community, they’ll know the best locations for you to set up. Earn your community’s trust by making yourselves a local fixture.
- KEEP IT FUN, BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, AND BE ACCEPTING
Life on the streets is difficult and people are complicated, so do your best to always be positive and accepting, and to welcome people. Good music is a great place to start.
YOU’LL SOON SEE FOR YOURSELF: KINDNESS TO STRANGERS IS WHERE REAL COMMUNITY BEGINS!