Community soup kitchen asks for assistance after donations drop

The Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen is pleading for help after disclosing a fall in donations after the past few years.

The Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen was founded in 2019 to try to combat hunger and poverty in the city.

It costs approximately £11,000 a month to run, but the charity it is now having to regularly dip into its reserves.

In January 2024, SGM’s founder walked 60 miles from Sunderland to Bamburgh in Northumberland for the kitchen and raised £1000, but more is needed.

Founder Andrea Bell initially told the BBC “people want to help, they just don’t have any money spare”.

“What we do has grown massively, now we also help people with furniture, clothing, shoes, tents and sleeping bags, and gas and electricity costs,” Miss Bell explained.

“We have an allotment and we also offer free haircuts and podiatry.”

But donations were not matching the increase in demand for the charity’s services, she said.

“I think now we’re a bit better known, people think we have money coming in from elsewhere, but we still totally reliant on the public’s generosity,” Miss Bell said.

To try and bring in new sources of income, the charity has taken over the lease of a building next door to its kitchen and plans to rent out the space as a community hub and sell vintage clothing.

“There have been nights when I’ve been awake and thought how can we keep going?” Miss Bell said.

“But the work we’re doing is just too important, so the charity is not going to close on my watch, that’s for sure.”