A CHURCH soup kitchen for the homeless and needy can now be completely revamped thanks to a fundraising campaign which raised more than £29,000 in just over seven months.
The soup kitchen at St John's Church, Mattock Lane, Ealing was set up in the 1970s by a group of local churches, but nearly 40 years on and it desperately needed refurbishing to cater for the increasing needs of the community.
The fundraisers are delighted with the response from organisations and individuals, some of whom were spurred on by the articles about the kitchen in the Gazette.
Reverend Peter Mackenzie said: “Both Sainsburys and the Hobbayne Trust contacted me as a result of the previous Gazette article. There were also some small donations from individuals who said that they had seen the article in the Gazette and doubtless some of the anonymous donations may have been as a result of the article too.
“We are enormously grateful for the coverage. A big thanks to Gazette readers for supporting our fundraising efforts. I was also encouraged by the support and general appreciation of the local community for the work that the soup kitchen does.”
The fundraising began with a yard sale in Elers Road in the middle of May and has included a car boot sale and sponsored cycle rides and the Ealing Half Marathon as well as the successful jazz concert in November, which alone raised more than £1,500. Sainsbury's in Northfield Avenue donated £500.
Church warden Lois Sheard, who has been involved in the project, said: “It has been a great example of people coming together with a common purpose. There was a real sense of goodwill about the purpose of the fundraising. We don't know who they are, how much they gave or even if they were involved in the church.
“To raise the money in such a short time has been amazing and we do want to thank everyone who has been part of this fundraising effort. We hope all the work will be finished before Christmas.”
During the refurbishment, the soup kitchen has been able to remain open except for three weekends in the summer.
It is open every Saturday and Sunday, from 3.30-5pm, in the Church Room at St. John’s (entrance from Broomfield Place or the church garden).
The soup kitchen serves hot food and drinks to the homeless and needy in Ealing and there is usually also a selection of clothes and blankets available. Over the festive season it will be open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, for longer hours, and on Christmas Day and Boxing Day a full dinner will be served.
The Soup Kitchen is helped by Daphne Edwards, the Ealing Churches Worker with Homeless People, but all the other workers are volunteers, recruited mainly from the churches involved in the scheme - St. John’s, St. Stephen’s West Ealing, St.Paul’s Northfields, St. Mary’s South Ealing, Haven Green Baptist Church, Ealing Abbey, Ealing Christian Centre and Hope Community Church.