Hotelier Launches ‘More Than Soup’ Initiative to Help Feed Northern Ireland’s Homeless
Chefs from Bangor’s The Salty Dog will take over behind the scenes at St Patrick’s Soup Kitchen this weekend to kick-start proprietor Ken Sharp’s More Than Soup campaign, which aims to bring restaurant quality food to the city’s homeless community.
Partnering with St Patrick’s Church’s soup kitchen, the restaurant will provide and prepare a Christmas menu to cater for the Kitchen’s Friday night session, seconding one of its chefs to take over the facilities at St Patrick’s, launched back in September.
More than Soup is an initiative spearheaded by Mr Sharp, which will call for more local restauranteurs to unite for this worthy cause – providing restaurant quality food to help feed the growing number of people in food poverty in Northern Ireland.
Inspired by Italian chef, Massimo Bottura’s social gastronomy movement, More than Soup is borne out of the idea that those in poverty don’t just need feeding but are in as much need of the dignity of a good meal – as well as the cultural and social benefits that come from enjoying a meal in the company of others.
The Salty Dog’s kitchen takeover will take place on Friday 22nd December. Mr Sharp is calling for other restaurants in the Greater Belfast and surrounding areas to get involved – the idea being that, one night every month, a local restaurant will ‘take over’ at St Patrick’s and help bring restaurant quality food to the city’s homeless while taking the pressure off organisers.
Ken Sharp said: “We first started talking about this as a one off, standalone initiative in the run up to Christmas but really, it could – and should – be much more than that. St Patrick’s soup kitchen has done amazing work since opening but why should it be the responsibility of a few and not the many to help feed those in poverty?”
Paul McCusker, one of the organisers at St Patrick’s Soup Kitchen said: “The three pillars we look to address with our community outreach is Food Poverty, Hopelessness and Isolation.
“The idea behind Ken’s More Than Soup campaign struck a chord with us – especially in terms of isolation and the impact a good meal in good company could have on some of the members of our community. We would very much welcome others and seeing this ‘takeover’ repeated on a more regular basis.”