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Catering volunteers needed to make Christmas happen for homeless people

Catering volunteers needed to make Christmas happen for homeless people

National homelessness charity Crisis is calling on trained chefs, experienced catering staff and keen cooks to provide hot, healthy meals for homeless people at their temporary centres this Christmas.

Crisis at Christmas 2014 runs from 23 - 30 December, with centres set to open across London, Newcastle and Edinburgh. As well as warmth, companionship and hot meals, guests will also receive healthcare and specialist advice on housing, work and benefits.

Giving guests three hot meals a day - along with the all-important Christmas Dinner - is one of the most important services on offer at Crisis at Christmas. Last year the 300-strong volunteer catering team served more than 30,500 meals, including 133 turkeys, 8,040 mince pies and more than 20,000 eggs.

Crisis at Christmas centres are run by thousands of volunteers from all walks of life with registration now open at

Claire Fraser has volunteered as a head chef for the last four years. She said: “Preparing the food at Crisis at Christmas allows me to be part of a truly essential service, and is the most rewarding part of my year. It can be a challenge getting everything prepared and you have to be creative with the ingredients on hand if you're going to provide three hot and varied meals every day, but that is part of the fun.

Volunteering with Crisis becomes even more rewarding when you see what a positive impact it has on the guests' self-esteem. The hot meals help to build their strength over the week which in turn helps them to engage with the support services and start the journey away from homelessness."

Homelessness has risen substantially in recent years, with government statistics showing a 37% rise in rough sleeping in England since 2010. Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Being homeless can be a cold, miserable experience and never more so than at Christmas when most of us are sharing in the warmth of family and friends.

By helping make Christmas happen for homeless people, volunteers can not only bring some much-needed cheer to our guests but also set them up with the chance to have a more positive year ahead through the life-changing services at our Crisis Skylight centres.”

Homelessness statistics

  • Official government statistics showed that 2,414 people slept rough in England on any one night during 2013 - a 37% rise on 2010
  • In London alone, local agencies report 6,508 people slept rough throughout 2013/14 - a 77% rise on 2010
  • Over the same period, more than 100,000 households came to their local council as homeless.

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