Open Collective
Open Collective
Changes & challenges
Published on December 1, 2023 by Martyna Marcinkowska

 Dear friends of the Reading Red Kitchen,

It’s been a little while since our last update and things have changed so we wanted to share the latest developments and challenges of our work. Thank you so much for your continued support – our work would not be possible without your generosity.

We operate the service every other week now. We alternate between groceries - fresh and pantry - and toiletries. Apart from the usual way we do our grocery shopping, we started sourcing our toiletries from a charity that distributes them to foodbanks at a reduced price. We also collect supermarket wastage for every shift to supplement our shop. This way we can make the money go further.

We have been working closely with Care4Calais – our volunteers are encouraged to stay after the shift and support Care4Calais by playing with kids and providing company and conversation to our asylum-seeking friends. We have also welcomed 2 new coordinators and some new volunteers. 

The way we distribute our supplies has changed – we switched to a system of distributing pre-made bags with staple items rather than letting people choose their own items. This is to ensure a fair and efficient system.

Our service regularly sees around 50-60 service users every week now – the increase in demand was the main reason why we had to limit the service to one shift every two weeks. We are grateful for the donations you make to help us continue our work and support the refugee community.

In addition to our regular service, we are also planning to throw a festive winter event for our refugee friends to celebrate the festive season and spend some joyous time together. We are planning on having food as well as gifts for the youngest members of the refugee community.

We are also very concerned about the growing homelessness crisis that affects some of our asylum-seeking friends. Once they are granted asylum, the right to remain in the UK, they are asked to leave their temporary accommodation within 10 days’, or even a week. This is not enough time to open a bank account, find a job, and secure accommodation. Some of them may be offered temporary housing by the council, but others will end up on the streets. We are thinking of using some of our budget to buy some tents and sleeping bags to keep the affected individuals warm through the winter. We wish we could do more than that.

We cannot stress enough how much we appreciate your generosity and kindness. We rely 100% on donations and volunteers so we really couldn’t do this without you! Thank you for being part of our collective.

Please continue donating and sharing our page with friends, family, and networks. If you are based in Reading, we are also always looking for extra help!

Your friends at the Reading Red Kitchen