Pembroke College delivers its 15,000th meal to Oxford Homeless Scheme

Pembroke's Help for Homeless Shelters

Since Saturday 4th of April, Pembroke College's remarkable kitchen staff have been working hard to provide meals for several homeless shelters in Oxford and has last week delivered its 15,000th meal! After a successful two-week trial, the scheme was extended and is now running until at least the end of June. Despite arrangements, numbers and dietary requirements changing on a daily basis, the team have adapted remarkably.

Here, Head Chef Chris Allnutt gives us an insight into the past six weeks in the Pembroke kitchens:

"The challenge that we are all undertaking has been one of the most difficult I have tackled, but is certainly by far the most rewarding. All of the chefs and members of the catering team that have been part of this chapter in Pembroke's long history are just bursting with pride and we are so pleased to be able to do our bit to help in this crisis. Not once have I seen anything but a gleaming smile across every single colleague’s face.

Our job is almost unrecognizable to the one we were all doing just a few short weeks ago and the situation continues to evolve. We are currently supplying meals to 5 different sites and catering for around 120 people for 3 meals a day (two hot meals and a continental breakfast). These include a variety of different people with allergies and dietary requirements from vegetarians, diabetics, gluten and dairy intolerances all the way through to Halal meals. When we recently entered Ramadan, we adapted to feed around 10 people every night who are observing this holy period whilst in isolation, which we have managed.

We have met the challenge of social distancing well which is tricky in such a small environment, have adapted our processes and implemented heightened handwashing and cleaning practices.

We have had feedback from some of the homeless people that have received our meals including that our meals are the highlight of the day and that they look forward to the meals arriving; this has made every single person on the catering team extremely proud to be a Pembrokian."

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