Founded in 2000, Lunch Box provides low cost hot lunches to vulnerable and homeless people in Bath. Serving on average 35 to 45 meals per hour, Lunch Box provides an essential service to people who are hungry and with limited resources. This support is provided entirely by volunteers.
Glenys has been running Lunch Box since it opened and Val has been project leader for 6 years. They talk to us about what inspires them to run such an important project, as well as the challenges they face.
“The most rewarding aspect is the trust we build with our visitors. Some call me Nan. They are part of my family and I am part of theirs. We build up a connection over time, we respect them and they respect us. That’s also the most challenging part, gaining trust with new people, learning their background without being nosy. We aim to make our visitors feel welcome and integrated”.
As the number of people sleeping rough within Bath continues to grow, the service that Lunchbox provides is increasingly crucial. “There have been a number of new faces in recent times. We are constantly reaching out to new people to invite them in, to ensure we help as many as we can.”
Instead of giving money to rough sleepers, Genesis vouchers can be used in exchange for food at Lunchbox, and are a simple way to ensure that people in need are provided with a hot, hearty meal.
When visitors arrive at Lunchbox they place their order and take a seat at a table, where newspapers are provided to read. Food and drinks are brought out by volunteers. Glenys explains: “It’s not quite the Ritz but nearly there!”
More than simply serving food, Lunchbox provides a safe, social and welcoming environment for homeless, hungry and vulnerable people in Bath. Visitors are made to feel valued and part of a community, and are provided with an escape from the streets. Even birthdays are celebrated with a free meal and small gifts such as socks or a chocolate bar.
“Little things to us are huge things to our visitors, to see them smile is a joy.”
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