Open Collective
Open Collective
Spring updates from the Red Kitchen
Published on May 17, 2023 by Deven Parker

Dear friends of the Reading Red Kitchen, 

We know it's been a little while since you've heard from us (yet again - so sorry!) so we wanted to give you an update on what we've been up to over the past few months. We've been working hard every Saturday to make sure that our steadily growing community of asylum-seeking refugees gets essential groceries and toiletries. We're now regularly seeing 50-60 service users every week! We've also welcomed many new volunteers, including a new coordinator who's streamlined our weekly shop to be more cost effective and efficient. We're now rotating between three different kinds of services every week: fresh produce, pantry essentials, and toiletries. "Fresh week" has been particularly popular, as those living in hotels still lack access to fresh fruit and veg. We can confirm firsthand that the food given out at the hotels is pretty abysmal, making our weekly service all the more important. 

In addition to our regular service, we recently hosted a special event: our third annual Eid BBQ! We saw our largest turn out yet for an afternoon of food, music, games, and celebration. A coordinator worked the barbecue while other volunteers made sure there were plenty of delicious sides, salads, and treats. Kids enjoyed face painting, games, and crafts. Two of our volunteers even brought along their new babies! Like our two previous Eid BBQs, it was an event that allowed our friends and neighbors to come together and celebrate. It's incredibly stressful running a mutual aid food bank in our current political and economic climate but events like this help remind us why we do this work. 

We love our community of migrants and refugees and will keep doing whatever we can to ensure they have access to healthy food and essential toiletries. We also know that so many of you are feeling the effects of the ongoing cost of living crisis. So, thank you for your ongoing support as we keep doing our work and helping out our friends. We're still 100% donation and volunteer based, and we couldn't do this without you.

Your friends at the Reading Red Kitchen

PS- stay tuned for a few upcoming fundraising events, including an open mic night :)