Feed the Homeless welcomes volunteers and guests from all walks of life, ages and backgrounds and we pride ourselves on being respectful to all. If you would like to make a real difference and help vulnerable people in Bristol, why not consider becoming a volunteer cook?
Every week our volunteer cooks provide nutritious balanced meals, cakes and sandwiches, which are handed out to those in need on Friday and Sunday evenings. As a volunteer cook, you don’t need any formal catering experience, just a confident home cook, with access to cooking facilities, ingredients and time.
The cooks role
We’re a grass roots charity, with limited funding, which means we can’t help with costs towards the ingredients, but we can provide the foil containers that we use for the hot meals, or bags for cakes and sandwiches and the allergen lables so we can comply with food labelling laws.
To be a regular cook we ask that you obtain a health and hygiene certificate, level 2. This helps us to know that the quality of meals, cakes and sandwiches provided are at the required level. The qualification can be completed online and we’ll reimburse the cost.
We try to create an inclusive menu for all our service users and volunteers, which means we don’t accept pork products or food made with alcohol, unless it’s been cooked off. We ask that meals are seasoned, but no heavily spiced, as lots of our guests can’t eat spicy food. Also, meat without bones is preferred as it’s more easy to eat and reduces mess.
If you’re interested in finding more please call Shada on 0117 325 7384 or contact us via the contact form, and tell us:
1. Some details about you, how old you are and what has made you want to volunteer
2. Details of any relevant skills and experience
3. Your availability
Finally, we don’t expect our cooks to provide meals every week, so please don’t feel that it may be too much of a commitment. Even if you are only able to cook once in a while, as long as this doesn’t prove too challenging for you, we would love to have you on board the cooks team!!
Joanna - 4 yrs as a kitchen helper
"I used to do the walking group through town. It’s evolved since Covid and now we do the static service. I used to sort the meals counting them, whatever needed on the day. I love it! It’s a simple concept and I like the fact that you can make an immediate difference. It’s nice to give something to someone who needs it. I like the charity for its grass roots”
Phil- helps on the van
"I find it humbling. It’s not what I imagined it would be. We get a perception in our head about homelessness but in reality, they have mental health issues. You give them a smile and make them feel normal for a while. I get a sense of giving back and helping people"
Nick- Queue crew
"Im doing alright and I want to help others. It doesn’t stop me from continuing the rest of my life. I can see the potential to go off the rails in life for whatever reason, you fall out with your family. It makes you not take life for granted"
I first became involved with FTH Bristol in 2018, it was just after the ‘Beast from the east’ snow storm. I remember watching a news story about the effect on homeless people and the volunteers trying to help and that was it really, googled, signed up, turned up.
From the very first night I was struck by the instant difference the work of this group made to people’s lives. On top of that the group was really friendly & welcoming & nearly 4 years later I’m still a regular volunteer.
I think what I like most is that it’s just so simple, volunteers make home cooked meals and bring them to volunteers who distributing them.
Obviously a lot of work goes on behind the scenes fund raising, sorting rotas, menus & supplies etc. But the outcome is that hungry people get fed.
During the pandemic the charity, along with other small groups ensured there was food available for people still on the streets so for those of us who were lucky enough not to have to shield it was business as usual. The charity also set up a large operation putting together and delivering care packs (snacks, clothes, toiletries & fresh fruit) to homeless people who had been placed in hotels.
The charity is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the people who use the service. The latest initiative has been the addition of Trevor, the van which acts as a mobile free grocery store / food bank.
A typical shift can consist of helping to distribute food from the van. Preparing hot drinks, receiving and organising the food delivered by cooks, reheating precooked meals and most importantly distributing food and drinks to our clients with a smile. No two shifts are the same and the team are always flexible and just step in where it’s needed.
Joanna Bright 07.02.22