Resistance Kitchen Update – Week 40


Usually when we start setting up the kitchen around 12.30pm – an hour and half before opening, there is already one or two guests waiting, and the queue starts. By opening time there can easily be well over 30 people already in the queue, patiently waiting.

We try our best to discourage this by increasing our stock levels to ensure most lines are still available right until 3pm when we close. Most foods are non-perishable items, so any extras can always be brought back the next week. The hot meals and fruit packs admittedly do usually run out just before 3pm, but the initial queue has been served by 2.30pm so even if you come late at 2.30pm, then you should still get a hot meal without having to wait too long. There really is no need to come early.

Caring Community

Two incidents that occurred in the queue this week that really touched our hearts.

A blind guest, with a white walking stick, came to join the queue. Upon seeing him, the other guests in front of him, some who had been waiting over an hour, insisted he be served first. We were really moved by this act of compassion for each other.

We didn’t want to impose rules on the queue that certain people will be served first due to their disability. To start with, our last survey showed that 38% of our guests who are on benefits are on disability related benefits, we cannot possibly judge between them as to who should be served first. Many conditions whilst severely debilitating aren’t obvious. Secondly it’s always better that rules are informally created by those it impacts rather than being imposed on them from above.

The second incident that tugged our heart strings was when a person collapsed near our kitchen. By the time we reached him, called an ambulance, and brought out a blanket from the van to comfort him, a couple of guests were already caring for him. They had put him in the recovery position, one had put their jacket under his head as a pillow, and were asking us for wet wipes to clean his face, to give him a little dignity, as he had been frothing at the mouth. They didn’t know who he was or even if he had come to attend the kitchen, but they insisted on staying with him right till the ambulance arrived. They didn’t mind losing their place in the queue, potentially their only meal for that day and food for their families for the whole week, to care for this stranger. Truly inspirational, we were humbled by their humanity.

We talked to the medics before they took the gentlemen to hospital, they confirmed he was suffering from epilepsy and had had a seizure. He had told them he was homeless. So we quickly packed a bag of food for him, we weren’t sure if he had access to cooking facilities so focused on food that didn’t require a kitchen – hot meal, pastries, drink, tuna, sardines, cereal, etc. The medics kindly took the bag for him.

Potatoes & Carrots

This week we came across a special offer on potatoes and carrots, so we could offer our guests 2kg bags of potatoes and 1kg bags of carrots instead of the smaller bags we usually pack. They were very well received.


Whilst we buy most of the food we serve our guests, the bread and pastries are surplus food from a local supermarket. This week we unfortunately didn’t receive many bread items, so we supplemented the shortfall by buying around a dozen loafs of bread. Going forward we will try and do this each week as bread is a staple diet that all our guests depend on.

Wishing Tree

To make up for last weeks terrible windy rain, this week we had brilliant weather – sunshine and very little wind. This allowed us to bring out our young wishing tree. It was very popular especially with young children, writing their wishes of hope for Gaza, hanging them from the branches. The young olive tree itself is doing very well, healthy with new shoots growing.

Petition - Call For Arms Embargo

On the table with the wishing tree we also had a section of leaflets about Palestine, and a petition.

Israel is using British made arms to commit genocide in Gaza. 135 parliamentarians have signed a letter to the government demanding it immediately suspend export licences for arms transfers to Israel. 

The letter was initiated by Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana on 27th March 2024. She wrote “We must not be complicit in Israel’s war crimes. But Israel uses British-made arms in Gaza & our government still sells it weapons. That’s why today – alongside 134 MPs & Lords from Labour, the Conservatives, SNP, Lib Dems & more – I have called for arms sales to be suspended.”

Unfortunately none of our Croydon MPs, or MPs from the surrounding areas that the Resistance Kitchen serves, supported the letter, apart from Bell Rebeiro-Addy (MP for Streatham) and Rosena Allin-Khan (MP for Tooting). Disturbingly, all those same MPs that supported genocide by not demanding a ceasefire in November are now – having seen the genocide they supported unfold – supporting the use of British weapons to commit the genocide. It has been reported that the UK government has been told by its own lawyers that Israel has violated international law in Gaza – but has refused to make this public. This is a shocking revelation that makes Britain complicit in Israel’s war crimes.

So this week we launched a petition for our local community to sign, asking our local MPs to support the call for an immediate arms embargo on Israel. The petition was very popular with many passer-bys stopping at the table to sign it.

Help Us Get Signatures

If you live locally in any of the areas that the Resistance Kitchen serves whose MP hasn’t supported the arms embargo (Croydon, Dulwich & West Norwood, Lewisham West & Penge, Merton, Beckenham, Carshalton & Wallington, and Mitcham & Morden) and would like to help us collect signatures to send to our local MPs please download the petition below (PDF file) . Print it out and get your local community to sign it, and then please drop it off at our kitchen on Saturday (1.30-3pm) or email it to us (hi-resolution jpg). To be effective it needs to be done quickly as we need to send them off in the next few weeks. We really appreciate your help, thank you.

We purposely keep our political action ‘food for the mind’ table separate from the food drive as its an essential principle of our kitchen that the provision of food is not linked to anything else. Food is a human right – all in need are welcome, as our signage says, without any preconditions or expectations.

The tables purpose is to educate the general public. Before the genocide, it contained information about why people are hungry in our community, about how government austerity policies like the benefit cap and two child policy are driving our people into abject poverty, forcing them to turn to food banks for survival. Just this week one lady said to us “you don’t realise you are keeping me alive, I’m so hungry”. This shouldn’t be happening the UK, part of our remit is to explain to our community why its happening – that its deliberate government policy to squeeze the poor in order to fatten the rich. Since the genocide commenced we have focused on how hunger has been weaponized by Israel to commit mass murder in Gaza.

Voter Registration Drive

It has been revealed that as part of the Government’s Criminal Justice Bill, which is due to be voted on before the general election, the government is planning to criminalise homelessness. Under the new law, homeless people would be fined up to £2,500 or even jailed if they are a “nuisance” – which could be interpreted to mean anything. The homeless charity Shelter responded: “Instead of punishing people for being homeless, politicians should prevent them ending up on the streets.” With draconian laws like this being proposed to target the poor, its vital that our community has a voice so they can fight back. Part of that is the ability to vote.

This is why we are so very grateful for Sonja from Croydon 4 Palestine for once again coming to help register our community to vote, thereby giving them a voice in the upcoming elections. She has kindly agreed to come again next week, please bring your National Insurance number with you as it’s needed for registration.

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