Sarah shares how she swapped her desk for a kitchen while volunteering with Streets Kitchen, helping to cook food for the homeless community during lockdown.
“While on furlough, I really wanted to do something worthwhile to help those less fortunate. When I lived in Berlin, I volunteered at similar organisations and always wanted to continue this when I moved back to London, but never had the time. So when my friend shared that she was volunteering with Streets Kitchen, I quickly signed up!
“When homeless people were placed in hotels for lockdown, Streets Kitchen re-organised its usual service – of providing food to those on the streets – to be able to deliver three meals a day to those in hotels. It’s a tremendous operation, relying on volunteers and donations from food banks and local restaurants to supply the ‘covid kitchens’, which they built in a short space of time in places such as local community centres that were closed during lockdown.
“Before starting, I completed Food Hygiene and Safety Catering training, and when I arrived for each shift, I had to change into full PPE and have my temperature taken. At the start of our shift we’d assess what food had been donated and what needed to be used first before it goes off. Then we’d plan the menu for the hot meal we’d make to serve that evening, and prepare lunch to package and send at the same time. At max capacity we would cook for 100 people... trying to prepare perfect rice for this amount of people was not easy!
“We’d also bake cakes (banana bread was very popular!) and prepare snacks to include in their evening food package. Everything had to be timed precisely as we’d have to portion it all into takeaway boxes ready for the volunteer delivery drivers to take on time.
“After each cooking shift we’d then have to disinfect everywhere and do a super clean-down ready for the next day. I forgot how tiring it can be to stay on your feet the whole day in a hot and sweaty kitchen, especially in addition to the hour walk there and back due to no public transport!”
A huge well done to Sarah for her inspirational efforts 👏.