Feeding 100 Homeless: Pembroke Catering during Lockdown


On Saturday 4th April a small team in the Pembroke kitchens packaged up the first of what will be thousands of meals to be delivered to homeless people in the coming weeks. 

Working out the details of this new operation at short notice and to fit around the reduced staffing levels in the kitchens during the lockdown period was a challenge.  However, Kevin Dudley, the College’s Executive Chef was immediately keen to get involved when Oxford City Council approached him to ask for help with providing meals for those they have housed in temporary shelters around the city in response to the COVID crisis.

Kevin comments: “I’ve always said that while we have one student in College who needs our support the kitchens here will not shut.  We continue to look after those who have had to stay in residence, and when I heard about this need in the wider community it seemed obvious that we could provide the solution.  My team, who are working long shifts with small numbers on duty at a time, have been fantastic in stepping up.”

Meals are collected by volunteer drivers, and hot food is delivered to each person across three temporary shelters twice a day.  They are also each given a cold breakfast daily.  Kevin has worked hard to ensure that there is no danger to his team from taking on the increased numbers, or to students who continue to rely on meals from the kitchens.  Members of the catering team have selflessly volunteered to work at this time to enable the meals to be provided.

The scheme is coordinated by the City Council and meals are provided by the College at cost price.  The food is individually packed up and labelled for allergens, and the dietary needs of all recipients are catered for.  The College is very grateful to Simon at A & J Catering for the loan of industrial hot boxes which ensure the hot meals remain at a safe temperature during transport. 

Initially the Pembroke team will provide meals for a two week trial period, with a view to extension if things work well. 

Dame Lynne Brindley, Master of Pembroke, says: “Everyone in College is immensely proud of our catering team who are once again putting in extra effort to show the meaning of being a caring community.”