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InTouch Foundation sees a rise in the number of people volunteering for soup kitchens
December has provided a boost for a charity supporting homeless people as thoughts turned to others and the idea of giving in the run-up to Christmas.
The Intouch Foundation runs weekly soup kitchens across Bradford, Keighley and, most recently, Shipley, serving hundreds of hot meals and drinks to people in need.
This month, Intouch CEO Osman Gondal said an average of ten people a week have been offering to help the charity, which supports people whatever the weather or the day – yesterday volunteers still turned out despite it being Christmas Day.
Mr Gondal said: “We’re in Bradford on a Monday and in Keighley and Shipley on a Wednesday and we’ll be there whatever the weather or day.
“When Christmas is around the corner, it’s a time when people are reaching out. We’ve been getting calls from people wanting to volunteer, just to come out and help out.”
Mr Gondal said there had also been a recent increase in service demand.
“Where we can provide the service we’ve seen an increase over the last six months and over the last month, as it has been getting colder, there’s been a service to provide with more food and hot drinks,” he said.
“There’s been a 15 to 20 per cent increase over the last month.
“Bradford is our busiest site. The most meals we’ve served there in one night is 176. The maximum number in Keighley is 80 and in Shipley it’s about 15 to 20. I think the reason it’s been slower there is because information’s not filtered out to the relevant organisations yet.”
The Foundation started serving meals in the city centre in December 2012, before expanding to Keighley and adding an extra service in Shipley in October.
On Monday, the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Khadim Hussain, visited the Intouch Foundation in the city centre. After meeting and greeting volunteers, Coun Hussain served hot meals to service users from the foundation’s mobile soup kitchen.
InTouch co-ordinator Faisal Tariq thanked Coun Hussain for his support.