A Thanet project that runs homelessness and food bank schemes faces closure

Kerry Keating, from Thanet Families in Need

A volunteer organisation in Ramsgate that provides help for people who are homeless and those struggling to be able to buy food faces closure if it cannot raise £500 by tomorrow (September 3).

Thanet Families in Need is a non-profit organisation set up in 2012 by Ramsgate mum-of-four Kerry Keating. It relies entirely on donations and the goodwill of volunteers to keep running.

It offers a rough sleeper outreach service, providing bags containing essentials, sleeping bags and advice, worked with the Thanet Winter Shelter project, runs a soup kitchen and gives help through the food bank.

Surge in demand

But a huge surge in demand and the costs of running the service have resulted in Kerry (pictured) issuing a desperate plea to raise at least £500 by the end of the weekend.

She said: “We need to raise at least £250 per week to cover basic costs, which over the last 2 – 3 months has been a real struggle.

“If I haven’t got our rent owed to our landlord this weekend, we are looking at closure of our premises.

“Keeping our food bank shelves stocked and paying the rent without targets met has put us under huge pressure.

Soup kitchen plans

“We have been preparing for Autumn soup kitchen with a new microwave oven and we are in talks with a company to get a coffee machine in the premises.

“We are stocking up on rough sleeper supplies ready for outreach so to lose our base now would be absolutely devastating.

“I am looking into ways to get us more continuous support, as these past 3 months have been the most challenging we have ever seen, financially as well as with this huge surge in demand.

“If people can even donate a £1, this will bring us a step closer to covering the costs to take us into September. This is when fundraising becomes less of a challenge with school holidays over, our team numbers grow and awareness is spread at the schools during harvest festivals. Coming up to Christmas we run the Raising Smiles for Christmas campaign, last year giving out over 500 food and gift hampers, our biggest year yet.

“This is our biggest plea yet, asking you, the people of Thanet who have kept us going over 5 years, helping over 5,500 cases of people in hardship, for your help to help others.”

The soup kitchen is due to run three nights a week from this month until November and then for four evenings a week until the end of February.

Lifeline

Kerry said: “Preparing for our sixth winter, with night time temperatures starting to fall, we are bracing ourselves to be able to supply the demand and need of those needing this vital lifeline of support during one of the toughest situations in a person’s life that no modern day government from the richest so called ‘civilised’ countries in the world should allow.”

Thanet Families in Need works with the council and agencies such as Porchlight to offer advice and support as well as practical help.

To donate visit the website here http://www.thanetfamiliesinneed.co.uk/Donating-to-us.html or click here

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