THOUSANDS of Christmas meals to help homeless people who would otherwise go hungry, can now be served up thanks to caring police officers.
Open House, a project that helps feed the city’s homeless, was struggling to dish up all the meals needed due to an out-of-date stove.
Now, police have stepped in and bought a new dual-fuel range cooker just in time for the festive season.
A volunteer-run scheme, Open House last year served more than 7,000 free meals to homeless people in the city, as well as those living with addictions, substance misuse or who have no, or very-limited, income.
The volunteers applied to Northumbria Police’s Charities Fund for the cooker, which was needed as part of an upgrade to the kitchen at St Mary’s Church Hall, in Sunderland, where the group meets.
Open House is the largest scheme of its kind in Sunderland and provides people with free food and refreshments each Thursday, with volunteers also offering a listening ear.
Community services manager Kathleen Urwin, from St Cuthbert’s Care, said: “Open House never turns anyone away and all the groups which use the centre will benefit from this cooker.
“Volunteers and customers come from all backgrounds and Open House is a very accepted and established project, linking in with local authority and charitable agencies to make sure there’s an easy pathway to other support, practical advice and information.
“These services are all provided free of charge thanks to the generosity of St Mary’s Church, which provides the facilities and the local community, which provides time, skills and donations.”
Paul Andre, Northumbria Charities Fund Trustee, said: “We were delighted to be able to help this charity which provides such great support to hundreds of people in Sunderland.”