Are you considering setting up a soup kitchen to feed those who are living on the streets? It’s a big job, but one that is very appreciated by those who receive the food. Before you begin, you’ll need to ensure you have somewhere to cook that can handle large amounts of food, a supplier for your food, and donations to ensure you will be able to continue providing meals over a long period of time.
Most soup kitchens are operating on a budget, so it’s essential that you have a good supply of fresh food. This may be done by setting up an order with a wholesale food source. Look for a company that has a good reputation and a variety of products.
Once you have the supplier and the funding sorted, it’s time to look at how you can provide healthy meals while staying on budget.
Simple Meals with High Nutrition Levels
Those living on the streets tend to burn a lot of calories and they can use some refills. There are a few ways to help ensure they’re getting nutrition and filling their bellies. These include:
Rice: This grain is simple enough to cook, but it’s also versatile. You can add vegetables, bits of meat or chicken and flavourings to make it more interesting. As a carb, rice doesn’t have a ton of nutrition, but it does offer plenty of energy and some calories to keep their stomachs full and their energy levels up. It’s also very affordable.
Eggs: Another easy and versatile food is the egg. These are packed with protein and nutrients that are very good for anyone. You can also do a lot with them, so it’s possible to serve eggs every day in the soup kitchen without a problem. Try boiling them, scrambling, frying, or poaching. You can mix eggs into rice or soup, or just slide a fried egg on top of toast.
Bread: Another filling option, bread can be quite nutritious. It’s also easy to eat with your hands, so making sandwiches that people can take with them is an option. In fact, many people who don’t have the option of a sit-down dining area will just give out sandwiches in the street. Sandwiches may be simple, with peanut butter and jam, or they could be made with chicken salad, devilled ham, or even a fried egg.
Milk: Unless someone is lactose intolerant, milk is a good way to help increase bone density and give a boost of protein and calcium. You’ll find it easier to hand out small containers of milk, though this does produce more waste. Alternatively, you may buy in bulk and then pour the milk into glasses for people to drink while at the soup kitchen.
Juice: There’s nothing as refreshing as a cold glass of fruit juice. It’s a good energy booster for homeless people and gives them something to enjoy with their meals. You may wish to alternate milk and juice or give them a choice between the two.
Fruits and vegetables: It’s important to include fruits and vegetables in every meal for those you’re feeding. These don’t need to be overly complicated, so you can just give them an apple or orange, something that is easily carried in a pocket when they leave. This makes a good snack for later. Vegetables may be served raw or you can sauté them or boil to make them a bit more palatable to those who dislike raw.
Yoghurt: Give the gift of probiotics by providing a little yoghurt with the meal. This may be mixed in as an ingredient, or you can provide it separately so people can enjoy the yoghurt as a dessert or for breakfast. Yoghurt is delicious, but it’s also very nutritious and contains probiotics, which help the immune system and gut health. These are obviously important when you live on the streets.
Chicken: When it comes to affordable meats, chicken is likely the best option. You can cook it up and shred it or turn it into soup with a little meat added back in and plenty of vegetables with rice or pasta. Chicken has plenty of protein in it and can be delicious whether boiled, fried, or baked. People will be delighted to have it for their meal.
Sausages: Who doesn’t love a good sausage? These are fast to cook up and relatively inexpensive. You may serve the sausages on bread or chopped up with cheese on top. There are many ways to serve these handy items and they’re usually full of protein and nutrients. Not all sausages are made the same, though, so be sure you choose the sort that isn’t packed with chemicals. You want to avoid adding toxins to anyone’s body.
Ground beef: If you want to stretch the meat and provide plenty of flavours, then ground beef or pork is an excellent option. This may be mixed with oats and shredded vegetables to make patties or it can be cooked up and added to a plate of rice. You’ll pack on the protein and fats with this choice on the menu.
Potatoes: Highly nutritious and filling, potatoes are a good addition to any meal. They may be baked, fried, or boiled in any number of forms and they’ll always be delightful. They’re also a very healthy alternative to pasta or rice.
Pasta: When it comes to filling meals, pasta is often high on the list. When you add a bit of mince or some pasta sauce, it immediately becomes a delicious meal that will help the people you feed feel satisfied and full.
Of course, there are many other choices for food when it comes to feeding people who are homeless. However, if you want to keep things simple and filling, it’s a good idea to choose a grain, a vegetable, and a protein that you can provide. Add in milk or juice and you instantly have a full meal that is quite healthy and rather delicious. This can help people get through the long days and nights on the street, knowing they have a good meal coming to them.
If you’re handing out sandwiches in the street, be sure to give out drinks, as well. A small bottle or carton of milk or juice can make someone feel better about their day. It’s easy to find individual packets of things like butter, cream, and jam, as well, so you can provide them with their own condiments to spread on their sandwich or toast.
Getting Ready to Feed the Homeless
Whether you are doing this on your own or have a number of people helping you feed others, you’ll need to plan ahead. Where will you keep fresh ingredients? Do you have the refrigerator space for all that milk? How will you manage making all the food and to transport it if you don’t have a space to sit down and serve?
There are many practicalities to consider before you get started. Talking to other people who run homeless shelters or soup kitchens will help you prepare. It’s a good idea to volunteer in these places, as well, to get a little more experience before you set up your own space.
If you don’t have a commercial kitchen, you may need to rent one for the days that you provide food. Depending on how many people show up for the meal, you could end up cooking up to 100 meals or more. This requires larger pots and plenty of space in the kitchen, which is why a commercial kitchen is ideal.
Are you looking for a wholesale supplier for your soup kitchen? Freshways offers a wide variety of foods and ingredients, always fresh and ready to go. Contact us today for a quote.