What We Do
Hot Food Service
Currently our activities centre around distributing hot meals to the homeless within Bristol City Centre on Fridays & Sundays.
Due to the pandemic we have had to make changes to the way we do things (pretty much like the rest of the world!!), to make sure we’re keeping our volunteers and our service users safe. Currently we operate a static distribution service in Champion Square in Bristol City Center instead of having teams of volunteers walking around the city centre handing out meals. This allows us to feed more people in less time with fewer risks.
If you would like to find out more, please feel free to take a look at our volunteer pages.
In January 2021 we'd just finished our Christmas pop up restaurant which was a one off event from us in response to the pandemic and the lack of facilities available for the homeless and rough sleeping community at that time. One of our homeless friends contacted Shada on 5th Jan 21, asking if he could come to the pop up restaurant. Shada explained it had closed and directed him to other food that was available via other charities that evening. But it was too late for a substantial meal so the best option was to get a soup and sandwich from the Soup Run Trust. Our friend continued to chat via text with Shada who arranged to meet and give him a few groceries. It was then that Shada found out he has somewhere to live and access to a kitchen but not enough money to go to the supermarket and buy things to cook which is why he was so reliant on charities who give out hot meals. After that Shada tried to refer him to other organisations and food banks that might be able to support him with meals delivered to his home or give him access to local food banks. After lots of emails and calls to various organisations Shada realised that because of his circumstances he didn't qualify for any of that support and much of it was oversubscribed in any case. There were other provisions around the city but too far afield for him to travel to.
At the same time Shada happened to be contacted by Fairshare who'd offered food parcels as a part of a DEFRA funded scheme, which could be collected and redistributed once a week for three months. Shada could access as many parcel as needed, but at the time was limited by the space in her car! Once a week she would collect as many boxes as could physically fit in her car, drive to the square and hand them out, initially to a small group of people which soon started to grow. After a few months it was obvious that doing this in a car wasn't allowing FTH to meet the sheer demand, so Shada borrowed a friend's van (Lola the van) which doubled the amount of people we could support pretty much overnight. The DEFRA arrangements came to an end in March '21 which is when FTH turned to the supermarkets to meet the need, placing orders with Asda to be delivered to the square, which meant there was less time needed to go around the shop etc. The order would arrive, it would quickly be moved to trays and then distribute from the Square still using Lola, which also helped with storage and collections from Fairshaire. By May 21, Lola had to go back, as her owners business was preparing to re-open after the easing of lockdown restrictions, which is when FTH started looking at the opportunity to buy our own van. We had a few weeks without any van at all which was challenging, but then Trevor, our vey own van, arrived in June 21. This has given us the ability to streamline costs, as we've been able to access cheaper produce for the van in bigger quantities to support the 100+ people we currently see every week. Not everyone takes one of everything we have available but the selection is there to provide them with basic essentials for the week.