Catching Lives does not usually undertake these types of appeal. However in these exceptional times we are having to find food to provide 165 meals a day for homeless people. Usually at this time of year we would be serving between 30-50 meals a day.
This has had a significant impact on our stocks of donated food as we slowly but steadily make our way through tinned and dried food reserves which will need to be topped up before long.
We are still receiving fresh food from supermarkets but we do not know how long this will continue in the long term.
For obvious reasons we are not currently receiving any food donations delivered to us from the general public as would normally be the case. We expect this to continue until restrictions on movement in public are relaxed.
We need to act now to ensure we do not find ourselves in the position where we do not have enough food to provide this lifeline at an extremely difficult time for homeless people.
We appreciate these are extremely difficult times for everyone but anything that you can spare will help us enormously. For example a donation of £3 will allow us to provide three meals a day for a homeless person.
You can donate by visiting our Virgin Money Giving page here
About Catching Lives and Current Provision for Homeless
Catching Lives is a Canterbury-based charity that exists to support homeless people in East Kent. We provide basic services like food, showers, laundry, clothing and use of internet and telephone, and a range of other support services including mental health support to help people tackle their issues, access accommodation and find the motivation to take steps towards personal recovery and independent living.
Because we could not guarantee social distancing at our Open Centre – and in the best interests of our staff and clients, we took the decision to close our Open Centre on 24th March. To keep vulnerable homeless people off the street and allow them to self-isolate, Canterbury City Council secured use of the Travelodge in Canterbury to temporarily house up to 57 homeless people. Catching Lives have been tasked with providing three meals a day for everyone housed there for the duration of the Coronavirus lockdown.
Since we began this service on March 28th there have been 55 homeless people move into the Travelodge so we have been preparing and delivering 165 meals a day. It requires five of our dedicated volunteers and one staff member to prepare and deliver this food every day.
We expect to be able to maintain but this but if the Travelodge is at full capacity this will rise to 171 meals daily and place an even greater strain on our resources. We rely on the majority of our income from community fundraising (around 70%) and this too has greatly diminished due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore we are exploring other ways of raising money, like this, to help us pay for the large amounts of food required in order for us to feed the homeless throughout this period of lockdown.
We continue to provide for the other support needs of homeless people as best as we can. We still have a skeleton staff at our Open Centre daily; they coordinate our food service and provide telephone support for our clients. Our outreach worker is continuing to keep in contact with homeless people who for one reason or another prefer not to access the temporary accommodation. They continue rough sleeping on the streets and we also providing food for them upon request. Our qualified mental health workers are providing mental health support by telephone. We have secured funding that has allowed us to give out cheap mobile phones with plenty of credit which enables us to keep in touch with all our clients.