Food Policy & Guidelines

All Volunteers need to sign up on neighbourly and read all the details.


#Food Policy


Last updated December 2019


Feed the Homeless Bristol is a developing charity run solely by volunteers, the support, time and work carried out is recognised and greatly appreciated by all us volunteers and those we serve.   This Food Policy has been created to help us now meet our regulatory requirements since recently gaining charity status.   Each of us at Feed the Homeless has a moral obligation to safeguard ourselves and our service users by operating in a safe, injury free environment, serving food that is always safe to eat.

To ensure best practice, we have developed food guidelines which our cooks should follow at every location in which they operate.   These guidelines are based on meeting the needs of our service users and adhering to regulatory requirements.   They are an integral part of the induction of new cooks who join our team and we request existing cooks to review these on a regular basis.  

The primary concern is that the food served is prepared to the highest possible standard, with care and using quality products and ingredients.  Our aim is to comply with all relevant legislation and approved codes of practice.   This policy works together with our Food Guidelines which highlight the considerations our cooks should / must put into practice when cooking for Feed the Homeless.

The trustees and management team will work to measure and review compliance against regulatory standards and, when necessary, implement further resources or objectives to ensure that food provided is of good quality and safe to eat.

Specifically, in line with Food Standards Agency (FSA) requirements, cooks who prepare meals more than once a month are required to hold a Level 2 Food Safety and Hygiene City & Guilds accredited certificate.    A copy of this certificate must be sent through to Feed the Homeless by email or paper copy as a record of certification.   As part of our responsibilities in meeting standards, cooks will be subject to unannounced / unplanned visits by our inspection team.  These visits are to ensure standards are met and where further guidance or recommendations can be offered to cooks if needed.

For Feed the Homeless, food safety performance is a priority and will be an ongoing agenda item at Management and Cooks meetings.  We will continue to review and update the policy to ensure it reflects the aims and aspirations of our developing charity organisation and keeps up to date with legislative requirements.

If there are any questions or comments regarding our policy or guidelines please contact:

            Naseem Talukdar (


#FeedthehomelessBristol Food Guideline (v1.02)

Firstly, thank you very much for signing up to provide food to the homeless hungry people in the streets of Bristol.  Without your support and time, we would not be able to reach those in need of a hot meal, so you really are very important to us!

Just as important is to ensure that the food meets the health and nutritional needs of our service users, and is prepared and packed in a manner that will make sure the quality of what you cook isn’t compromised.  Based on our experiences, talking to the homeless and in consultation with health and safety guidance, we have prepared the following to assist you when deciding what to cook and how to pack it.

1.     Things to avoid

Firstly, please, avoid the following:

  • Fish                 
  • Pork               
  • Alcohol

This will ensure that the meal appeals to the widest variety of palates, whilst ensuring there is still some variety.

2.     Things to consider

We want to make sure every meal is balanced and nutritious, as this might be the only meal that the service user will eat that day.  Please, therefore, consider the following when planning what to cook:

  • There are a large variety of sources of protein such as eggs, dairy, soya, pulses, beans and meat.  You can also get protein from nuts, but we would recommend that these are avoided to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction and also because some homeless people struggle with hard food due to their dental issues
  • Vegetables can be incorporated very cheaply and easily into most dishes, for instance, a diced carrot in a pasta sauce.  We would just ask that you make sure the vegetables haven’t gone past their best and are prepared carefully and cooked until soft.
  • Starchy carbohydrates are useful for slow release energy which also helps stave off hunger for longer.  These are foods such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals and this should make up just over a third of the meal.
  • Fresh fruit, where possible, is a lovely additional treat for the homeless and soft fruit, such as plums, bananas, and pears are particularly popular.  Again, please make sure the fruit hasn’t started to go off or become over ripe, as we won’t be able to give it out.
  • Fat is the final ingredient and we all know that fat is good, if eaten in moderation.  The same rule applies to people on the street and in fact the healthy ‘good fats’, such as unsaturated oils, will help to build them up.  So please don’t feel that you should avoid ‘good fats’.
  • Seasoning: The meal should cater for the widest variety of palates as possible, and whilst a lot of people like spicy food, most people, especially if they are homeless and have limited access to toilets etc , would happily eat lightly seasoned food, so keep it seasoned and mild, please!

Finally, please make sure the meal is prepared as close to the drop off time as possible.  This enables us to distribute it whilst it’s still hot and ensures it’s as fresh as possible.  We know this isn’t always possible, so if you do have to reheat anything, please note that we can only accept reheated vegetarian meals.  It looks like a lot to consider, but it’s probably something that you do every day without even thinking about it!  If you would like more information you could take a look online, which NHS eat well guide which is a useful source of information. The main priority is healthy and fresh meals, cooked with the same love and care that you always give when cooking for friends and family.

3.      Packing

We have a limited number of containers donated each month, which we will be happy to share the individual cooks, but please feel free to buy your own if preferred. Please contact any of the Cook Leads for more information on the containers.


We’d ask that you ensure the containers are leak proof for normal usage.  To help ensure that no food goes to waste, please keep the meals as dry as possible to avoid the risk of spillages and contamination of other meals.

4.     Labelling

We often have lots of batches of meals that we give out each night, provided by various volunteers, so it’s important that we know what’s in the packages that we’re handing out. Please make sure you label each container, with at least a meal title and whether it’s vegetarian or meat (please state whether that’s chicken, lamb or beef).  Extra information is also useful, such as if the meal contains bones.  We would also ask that you state whether the meal contains cheese, egg or milk based products so we can pass that on to the service user and make sure that it suits their dietary needs.

Finally, when labelling, choose the method that suits best, but please remember the other volunteers will need to be able to read what you’ve written in sometimes poorly lit places, so large writing is appreciated and if you’re using a marker please make sure it’s permanent!

The Golden Rule:  

                                   We only serve meals to the homeless, which we can eat ourselves.

The above are guidelines that we hope will help us to make the most impact on the quality of food we deliver.


Volunteers Cook Policy & Guideline
FTH_Food (1).pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [335.3 KB]

Some Helpful link


1. Catering advice for charity and community groups providing food

Food Standard Agency


2. Level 2 Food Safety & Hygiene for Catering £15+VAT - the Following link has the cheapest one with City & Guilds Accredited

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