The Beacon Team, our volunteers, Feed my City, Reach Out to the Community, the Rev Ellie and Alan and Darren (our delivery team) have now cooked and delivered over 40,000 meals to people experiencing homelessness in Manchester. As the hotels close and people are moving into their own accommodation, we are taking the opportunity to reflect on the last three months and everyone that has made it possible.

Just over three months ago our Beacon drop in centre team were asked to leave behind their old roles and take on a new responsibility none of them had ever expected to be given. When The Greater Manchester Combined Authority housed hundreds of rough sleepers in hotels throughout the cities, the majority the hotels did not have kitchen facilities on site. This required charities to step up to provide this, together with Feed My city, Reach Out to the Community and Rev Ellie Trimble Our Beacon team began cooking hundreds of meals a day to be distributed throughout the city.

Cooking Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for this many people would not have been possible without our super team of volunteer chefs. With their restaurants being closed some super chefs came forward to offer their time and skills to our team free of charge. Their knowledge on large scale food preparation, and cooking has made the community kitchen run incredibly smoothly. We would be lost without them.

The running of the Community Kitchen involved so much more than just cooking our team have had to organise the delivery of tens thousands of ingredients, containers and pieces of equipment. Developing the spreadsheets and planning required was something Ally our Beacon Manager had some experience in from a previous job where she managed deliveries of ingredients, but from the producers to the kitchens.

Finally Alan our van driver and his friend and volunteer Darren have been working non-stop as couriers driving through the empty lock down streets of Manchester day after day to deliver the meals to the hotels, deliver food parcels to families in need and collect donations.

Thank you to everyone who has made this possible. It has been quite a journey and I’m sure that everyone is looking forward to returning to Bloom Street as we move forward to reopening our Beacon drop in centre, but we will never forget the Spring when we cooked 40,000 meals.