September 15, 2020 @ 9:40 by Steven Hugill
An excavator maker has dug deep to help a service supporting the homeless and vulnerable.
Komatsu UK has donated £10,700 to The People’s Kitchen, in Newcastle.
Officials say the cash has helped the organisation restock its depleted warehouse shelves so it can continue providing warm meals for people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maureen Armstrong, fundraising manager, said Birtley-based digger manufacturer Komatsu’s donation was particularly important, with year-on-year charitable donations down almost 70 per cent thanks to coronavirus.
She said: “Like everyone else, The People’s Kitchen was impacted by the onset of the lockdown as the pandemic started to take hold.
“We went from providing a safe space for our friends to come and get a warm meal, to then providing a takeaway service, which we had to stop due to people congregating around the Alison Centre – so we became a delivery service!
“There has been a considerable effort to ensure all of our friends could access food and we have overcome every hurdle placed in our way.
“We are delighted to be back offering the take-away service and incredibly grateful for the Komatsu donation, which is amazing and very much welcomed.
“With the drop in donations during COVID-19, we have had to dig into our warehoused stocks, where we store many of the tinned and dry goods donated by school and church harvest festivals.
“I had never seen the shelves so empty, and this donation has helped us re-stock.”
The People’s Kitchen serves hot food and provides a safe haven for its users, referred to as ‘friends’, at its headquarters in Bath Lane, Newcastle.
Still operating on the ‘friendship and food’ principles established by its founder Alison Kay in 1985, it serves up to 150 meals a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
It was put forward as a potential Komatsu charity of the year by employees and selected by a vote of the firm’s sports and social committee.
Lynne Murray, HR officer, said: “We invited Maureen and The People’s Kitchen into Komatsu last year to speak about the work they do there and we were totally inspired by what she had to say.
“For over 30 years they have ensured that their friends receive at least one warm meal a day, but in reality, what they provide goes far beyond food.”
So inspired was Komatsu UK CNC team leader Kevin Hall, that he has signed up as a volunteer for the service.
“Maureen spoke so passionately about the incredible people who work and make use of The People’s Kitchen; it really got under my skin,” he said.
“I just wanted to be part of it and do my bit to try and improve someone else’s life.”
Details for donations to The People’s Kitchen can be found at www.peopleskitchen.co.uk