Some people may think we provide just soup, but there’s rather more to it than that…
A typical meal starts with a combination of
- Orange and mango juice with vitamin supplement
- Soup and soft white rolls
- Nutritious stew (made from 39lbs of Palace Rib stewing steak and 7lbs of kidney and at least 12 different vegetables)
- Tea/Coffee and biscuits followed by an apple, orange and banana
Afterwards, our clients choose clothing, boots/shoes; bedding and bags and bags of encouragement. Then there’s Christmas…
Christmas can be a logistical nightmare. Preparing a full hot, festive-fare meal in a domestic kitchen (albeit with a double oven and 6 ring burner), transporting it to our base in the city centre, and serving it to those who are waiting – without any firm idea of what numbers will need to be catered for (Christmas 2012, we provided sufficient for 150 people – all the food was eaten!). ‘Santa’ also arrives with almost as many gifts as we can beg from businesses and organisations. These range from torches to clothing and include the generous donations to our annual Chox ‘n’ Sox campaign
– a combination of orange, mango and a vitamin supplement
Vegetable Soup and soft white rolls.
– chunky pieces of chicken cooked in cream with vegetables.
Strawberry Gateaux and cream.
Christmas cake and Wensleydale cheese.
Tea/Coffee and biscuits and After Eight mints.
And then ‘Santa’ comes*
*Santa is usually the newest member of the team, although tradition was broken in 2012 when the Lord Mayor, Cllr. Dale Smith, asked if he could attend. As well as chatting to all those present, he also gave out all the Christmas presents – rather well, we thought.
New Year is usually just as busy, with as much importance being placed on ‘being there’ as at Christmas. Most people will wish their relatives and friends ‘Happy New Year’, and yet for those living on the streets there can often be little or no hope of the coming year being any better than the last. So we are there, to meet our friends, and hopefully instill some hope for the future.
So how do we do it? Mostly, by experience of learning by our past mistakes; guidance from others who have knowledge we could only dream of, and a large slice of goodwill and luck.
We also have our trusty 21 year old 2.8 Ltr Mercedes ‘G’ Wagen – bought already restored and converted to run on LPG (less than half the price of normal fuel) which means we can be sure of getting to our Soup Runs whatever the weather. As you may have realised not turning up for a Soup Run is not an option.
Yes, we did write to the last Chancellor of the Exchequer to ask for some road tax rebate on account of our not being able to afford a new vehicle and yet needing a 4×4 for our work. The response was as you might expect, so we didn’t hold our breath, we just got on with the job.
For the semi technical, our ‘G’ was first developed for the German Army; has lots of bells and whistles but, most importantly, it does the job and enables us to do what we do.
Keeping a 21 year old Merc on the road could be expensive. Fortunately, we are helped by members of the G Wagen Owners Association, who have more knowledge than we’ll ever have or need; and a friendly local mechanic who works hard to keep us on the road without the exorbitant prices one usually associates with old vehicles.