Businesses join forces to support soup kitchen cooking sessions with festive fundraiser

Businesses join forces to support soup kitchen cooking sessions with festive fundraiser

Jane D’Arcy (left) and Leah-Anne Shillito in the kitchen at The Deep Business Centre.

MANAGEMENT and tenants at a business centre in Hull are stepping up their efforts to make Christmas more comfortable for the city’s homeless community by organising a fund-raising event on top of their weekly cooking sessions for a church soup kitchen.

The Deep Business Centre will host a coffee morning and lunch on Monday 4 December with an open invitation to all to enjoy the event and to raise money for Hull Homeless Outreach.

Chef for the day will be Jane D’Arcy, a paraplanner with business centre tenant LEBC Group, who is given access to the kitchens every week to cook for the soup kitchen at nearby St Mary’s Church, Lowgate.

Leah-Anne Shillito, a receptionist at The Deep Business Centre, said: “We hold a lot of charity events here. Our tenants are always very supportive and we also get visitors from our own business networks and people who are just passing by.

“This year we selected Hull Homeless Outreach, providing more support for Jane, who does a great job cooking for homeless people every week in our kitchen.”

Hull Homeless Outreach operates soup kitchens at St Mary’s every Wednesday and Thursday evening. Jane cooks at home until midnight every Tuesday and then takes all the food and equipment to the business centre on a Wednesday, working through her lunch break so she can finish work early and concentrate on cooking.

Jane said: “Other tenants often help out. One which operates in the food sector brought me 160 giant hot dogs and baguettes, and they went down a storm. Most of the food that we cook is donated, and we do have some very generous donors.

KFC and Nando’s supply us with chicken – I can cook anything with chicken! It often ends up as a lasagne or a stew. Tesco provides bread and pastries and has worked with us for more than two years. On one occasion P&O Ferries selected us as their nominated charity. Four of us made a trip to Rotterdam and we raised more than £1,000 from collections on the ships.”

But with demand always increasing for the services of Hull Homeless Outreach, the organisers are constantly appealing for more help from individuals, businesses and other organisations.

Jane said: “Hull Homeless Outreach has been going for more than three years and we’ve been running the soup kitchen at St Mary’s for two years. We used to feed between 40 and 50 people on each of the two nights and we’re now up to about 80, with rising numbers of young people. There is a soup kitchen in Hull every night of the week now. We also give out sleeping bags and we run a clothes bank.”

Leah-Anne added: “The coffee morning will take place on Monday 4 December from 10am until 2pm. It’s open to business centre tenants, visitors, anyone in the area who would like to call in. “We’ll be selling hot and cold drinks and jacket potatoes with a choice of fillings.

“We’re also collecting prizes now for a raffle and competitions and we would welcome donations of new gloves, socks, hats, scarves or any other products which we can use to make up Christmas boxes for the service users. Please contact The Deep Business Centre or just call in with donations.”

To contact The Deep Business Centre with offers of donations please call 01482 382000 or email business@thedeep.co.uk

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