Led by a team of stalwart volunteers, including Ali Mohamed from London Darkhana Jamatkhana, the food was prepared and delivered following socially distanced measures with full PPE, kindly provided by the ESK charity. Amongst the grateful recipients were the homeless and vulnerable in the community. The meal was a delicious and nutritious feast of succulent chicken thighs, roast potatoes and vegetables!
Since December 2017 and before the pandemic hit the UK, volunteers provided assistance to the soup kitchen every Monday. Since the outbreak in London, the team have been volunteering twice a week. As well as cooking and serving a meal, the team has also been delivering groceries to those most vulnerable and in need of assistance. Ali talked to us about the difficult state of affairs the pandemic has brought, and how he and the ESK have been able to adapt to help reduce the difficulty people are facing.
“Since the pandemic hit, 80% of soup kitchens and drop in centres have closed around London. But numbers of vulnerable and those in food poverty have significantly increased. As a result, ESK and its volunteers are busier than ever.
In many ways, it is a sad state of affairs. Despite significantly increasing our services, we are unable to meet the huge demand for food and support that is needed across Ealing and its surrounding boroughs. And I'm sure its the same story everywhere.
To protect our volunteers and clients alike, how we serve our clients has massively changed. Our Monday night service has gone from full sit down meals to a takeaway service. All volunteers and clients must adhere to strict social distancing rules. Volunteers don masks, disposable gloves and aprons.
However, what's wonderful is the kindness shown by people in the community. We have had so many donations of food and sundries that we were able to start a delivery service on Thursdays. Last Thursday, we provided the equivalent of a weekly shop to 75 vulnerable households. I am so pleased - but in typically Ismaili fashion - I want to do more.
Immersing oneself in the service of others is something I learnt in Jamatkhana through the IVC. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to take these lessons to serving the wider community."
Ealing Soup Kitchen is a charity who seek to help anyone who needs hot, nutritious food & a helping hand. They have been running a weekend Soup Kitchen since 1973 in Ealing for the homeless & vulnerable. In addition, they run Monday & Friday drop-ins where they provide clothes, food, a hairdresser, showers, practical help, games and a doctor on site.
Ismaili CIVIC aims to provide voluntary support to the communities in which we live. The Ealing Soup Kitchen initiative began as an AKYSB initiative under iCERV over two years ago. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the team have been continuing their excellent work with Ealing Soup Kitchen to provide hot meals to the homeless and vulnerable in West London.
If you would like to assist with the Ismaili CIVIC COVID-19 response, please register as a volunteer, please complete the volunteer registration form by clicking here and registering through your IIUK account.