Dessert at Foodcycle Cambridge - © 2018 Foodcycle Cambridge

Hawking Gone But Still Giving

Stephen Hawking, the most renowned theoretical physicist of our time, passed away March 14. But the man who was so generous in sharing his insights and discoveries about the cosmos hosted a gala Easter lunch for the homeless In his longtime home town, Cambridge. No, it wasn’t magic…

Easter Lunch at FoodCycle 2018 - © 2018 FoodCycle CambridgeVolunteers serve up a hearty Stew for Easter Lunch at the Cambridge FoodCycle kitchen,
paid for by a gift from the late Stephen Hawking and family.

…But to about 50 homeless folks there who rely on the Cambridge chapter of UK non-profit FoodCycle for regular meals, it was a little like magic. The gesture was just one activity that will be funded by a generous grant left by Hawking in his will to FoodCycle to support its work.

The Cambridge News reported that the diners and servers alike rose in a toast to Hawking before digging in .

FoodCycle prepares meals from surplus food, food which would otherwise be thrown away, What a waste. But the non-profit and its volunteers turn the surplus into a bounty for the homeless.

Here’s the real story

There are probably several organizations near you that do the same thing for homeless people in your area, and you can share the Easter spirit of Easter Joy by supporting them, either with a financial contribution or a contribution of your time and energy on the front li9ne.

I’ve been there…

A few years ago, I spent several weeks on staff in the kitchen at an Ottawa homeless shelter, where we prepared and served breakfast, lunch and supper to 400 or more street people every day. That’s a lot of work and the half dozen paid staff could never have managed it without the help of many volunteers who assisted in both preparation and serving.

While the shelter where I worked also accepted donations of surplus food from supermarkets and restaurants, it also bought a fair amount of food to ensure that its established menus could be maintained. That’s all part of ensuring that the folks they feed are getting a wholesome, balanced diet.

The story, in dollars and cents…

When the shelter buys supplies, it pays the same wholesale prices that any restaurant or cafeteria would pay. But it still costs a lot to feed all those people.

For example, if you’re serving Hungarian Goulash for 400 on Sunday (my specialty), you need 15 kg of dry Egg Noodles, the leftover ends from 8 large Sirloin roasts that had been cooked and sliced for supper a couple of days before, about 12 L of what we called ‘Tomato Product’ – Sauce, Paste, whole or crushed Tomatoes, all canned – plus a cup of Paprika, a good handful of Salt and another of Pepper, and a scoop of Beef Flavouring (powdered Soup Mix). That all costs money.

You also need a 60 L steam kettle to cook the noodles, and an 80 L tilt kettle to cook the Goulash. And stainless steel serving pans for the service line, and ladles and tongs and plates and cutlery and napkins and trays and… It goes on and on. Sure you don’t have to buy all the hardware new every time, but you have allow funds for cleaning and maintenance, and eventual replacement.

So, think…

…About how you can support those less fortunate in your community. If you can’t give time, give money. Even a few dollars will buy a lot of Egg Noodles!

~ Maggie J.