Cath and Ken Homewood
Cath and Ken Homewood moved to Cleethorpes following a mini break to the area. At the time, Ken was facing alcoholism and the couple saw this as an opportunity to get away from old crowds and start afresh. That was 25 years ago, and today Cath and Ken are a lifeline to many vulnerable, homeless people in and around Grimsby.
The couple are the owners of Grimsby Food Kitchen, which began 15 years ago providing cups of soup to homeless people in and around the town. As the original founders stepped aside, Cath and a friend decided to keep the Kitchen going in a car park close to local charity, Harbour Place. Once Ken was ready to support people who may be under the influence, he joined Cath and they have been running the Kitchen ever since. Soup in a cup became a meal in a cup, eventually offering pies and peas, and variety of hot, homecooked meals and puddings from their base under the flyover at King Edward Street, Grimsby.
An integral part of Grimsby Food Kitchen is supporting those wanting to face their addictions. When they are ready to make positive changes, Cath and Ken personally help people to find recovery programmes.
“It’s a respectful kitchen. We don’t allow swearing, bullying, or turning up under drugs.” Cath said. “We will also take people to rehab to get them onto a recovery programme, whichever suits their needs. They deserve all the praise as it is their decision to change. It is their journey. We take no credit for that. Two guys who visited us, Shawn Penketh and Tez Mills, they sorted their own rehab out. We have known them from day one of the GFK so we treat them to dinner and visit. We have just taken two guys in and after a couple weeks, they are doing amazing. We’re so very proud of them all.
“We could not do all this without our faith. For us, God gets all the Glory because Ken went to church when we moved here and the pastor prayed for him . He hasn’t touched a drink for 25 years. Otherwise, he would not been able to do GFK. That’s why our faith is so important to us.”
Cath and Ken work with a team of dedicated, kind-hearted volunteers, and rely on the generosity of local people, businesses, and charitable fundraising organisations to help fund and provide food for the Kitchen.
“We buy all our food in every week, except those who pay for Fish and Chips or Chinese meals for the guys. We keep it local too so at Christmas, folk took money to Gary’s Meat on Freeman Street Market, which was an amazing help. Everything is so appreciated. The amazing folk of this town have been fantastic. Credit to them all. Great community spirit. Even those with less give from the heart.”
Grimsby Food Kitchen are always in need of long-life blue carton milk, cartons of custard, and coffee, and will accept financial donations which is used to buy ingredients for homecooked meals. To donate or enquire about volunteering, or to read some seriously inspirational stories about the people who have been able to turn their lives around, follow the Grimsby Food Kitchen Facebook Page.