A CHARITY that provides hot meals for people sleeping rough may be forced to close after a homeless hostel told them they can no longer cook on their premises.
Christian Kitchen has been providing food for homeless men and women in Walthamstow for 25 years.
The charity, which is run by volunteers and relies entirely on donations, has been using the kitchen at Branches Hostel in Forest Road, Walthamstow, for the past four years.
But the hostel that provides accommodation for homeless people has told the charity they need to vacate the kitchen to make way for the hostel’s culinary activities.
Chairman of Christian Kitchen Norman Coe said if he can’t find another kitchen in the coming weeks the 50 homeless people they feed every night will go to sleep hungry.
Mr Coe said: “I was quite disappointed when I got the letter saying we had to leave but it didn’t come as a great shock to us to be honest.
“I don’t see how we will run the charity without a kitchen, it would be very difficult. The churches are supportive to us but they won’t be able to take us every night.
“It is a tragedy really because for a lot of these people it is the only meal they have all day and some of them travel far to come every night.
“We go out 365 days a year including Christmas and I would be upset if the van didn’t go out because they would go away hungry.”
The charity’s volunteers spend a few hours every evening cooking the meal before loading it onto the van and taking it to Walthamstow High Street to distribute.
Unless they can find a kitchen before May 31 to use every evening between 4.30pm and 9.30pm they can no longer provide the “essential” service.
Mr Coe, 70, of Blackhorse Road in Walthamstow said he has not told the homeless men and women about the sad news because he is hoping to find another kitchen before it is too late.
He said: “Some of the guys and ladies that come have mental health problems and they cannot cope. Others have addictions to gambling or alcohol or drugs.
“It is as much about hospitality as the food. We greet them with a smile and it is saying you are important and you are valued. We give them a three course hot meal every night and there is not a soup kitchen like it in the borough.
“I am an optimist and although we have had difficulties in the past we have always managed to get through them.”
Branches Hostel has been contacted for a comment.