After supporting 450 families with hot meals and presents over the weekend in the run-up to Christmas, Brixton Soup Kitchen will today (24 December) feed more than 1,000 people on the streets of London.
And, as it began its annual Christmas outreach campaign, Brixton Soup Kitchen’s Solomon Smith said that its work was because of “unforgivable weaknesses” in the country’s social security system.
The homeless charity Crisis yesterday said that a record 170,000 people are homeless in this country.
Founded in 2013 by Solomon Smith and Dr Mahamed Hashi, Brixton Soup Kitchen (BSK), has served more than 80,000 meals to homeless and vulnerable people in London and across the UK and is expanding to branches in Jamaica and Miami.
Today, a BSK team will cover the streets of London, providing meals and care packages to moe than 1,000 homeless people.
Solomon Smith says that this work is “critically necessary” to support people in need.
The drop-offs around London with a huge volunteer team will begin from the Soup Kitchen on Coldharbour at 2pm this afternoon.
Driving around in cars and vans, the team expects to speak to at least 2,000 people and provide more than 1,000 hot meals, drinks and care packages.
Solomon Smith said: “This Christmas homeless people will be laid out on the streets of London and the UK deprived of a family to go to, a hot meal, a laugh and a smile.
“This is unforgivable. Successive governments have failed them and we are here to do something about it.
“Providing direct support we will easily work with over 1,000 people over the Christmas period.
“We will open our doors on Christmas Day, entirely unfunded, to provide meals, music and a positive environment for people in need.
“Our work goes under the radar so often as homelessness and working poverty is not seen as a major issue these days despite many recent reports talking about a rise in homelessness.
“Adverts on TV and continuous marketing of ‘families and happiness’ at Christmas will make the homeless feel even more depressed.”
Solomon, a former youth worker and community advocate, began serving meals to people from his family kitchen aged 12.
The charity has enjoyed support from people ranging from footballer Rio Ferdinand to the late Dame Tessa Jowell MP. It works with corporates such as Nandos, Greggs, and Marks and Spencer that donate food and provide support.
As well as meals and hot drinks, BSK provides counselling, legal support, job-hunting support and a friendly and uplifting social place to go for hundreds of people every week.