Enter the old wooden doors of York’s Spurriergate Centre on either a Tuesday evening or bright and early on a Sunday morning, and you’ll be welcomed by the smells of home-cooked food and the sound of warm conversation. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d entered a new pop-up restaurant, but this one comes with a difference.
Kitchen for Everyone - York, enlists an ever-growing number of kind-hearted volunteers to cook and serve food to the homeless and most vulnerable members of our community - giving them a safe space to escape the winter cold and socialise.
The charity is the brain-child of York’s Dave Hobman, a lay minister at All Saints Church and is now run by Helen Rawling who, in characteristic modesty, told us that she simply ‘wanted to give something back to those who haven’t been as fortunate as [she has] in life.’ Helen continued: ‘I’ve been very lucky to always have people helping me and I wanted to do the same for others.’
Helen’s altruistic attitude is shared by the sixty-plus volunteers that all pitch in at the Spurriergate Centre, whether they’re serving tables, preparing huge vats of home-cooked goodness or knuckling down at the sink to pot-wash. There’s a real team spirit at Kitchen for Everyone and it’s slowly becoming its own community, with members from all walks of life coming together in the shared idea that lots of little contributions can make a huge difference.
‘We know we can’t resolve homelessness overnight but we can make life slightly easier for them by providing a hearty meal twice a week’. Helen told us.
The response from the service users has been fantastic. With queues at the door ready for opening and tables full until closing time, Kitchen for Everyone is clearly providing a service that is, unfortunately, absolutely necessary as the numbers of people living on the streets are reaching record levels in the U.K. ‘We would love to not have KEY, for there not to be a need for KEY, but we can’t see that in the near future. We will continue to grow from strength to strength with a hope of supporting more people in the community.’ Said Helen.
Food aside, it’s the conversation that seems to be the most popular thing on the menu at KEY. A real effort is made by the volunteers to get out and have a chat with everybody that comes in. Being made to feel valued in a world that seems to have given up on you is priceless, and week by week, that’s exactly what Kitchen for Everyone continues to achieve with every person that steps inside. For more information, take a look at the Kitchen for Everyone - York Facebook page on the link below.Kitchen for Everyone - Facebook