Youngsters provide meals for homeless

The Thursday 4th Morpeth Scouts troop and leaders get ready for the cookathon.
The Thursday 4th Morpeth Scouts troop and leaders get ready for the cookathon.

A group of children rose to the challenge of providing hundreds of meals for homeless people on one evening.

Thursday’s 4th Morpeth Scouts troop surpassed its target for cooking hearty and wholesome food in aid of the Making Winter Warmer organisation that supports those living rough on the streets of Newcastle.

The 30 youngsters made more than 300 meals that were distributed to people living rough on the streets of Newcastle.

The 30 youngsters made more than 300 meals that were distributed to people living rough on the streets of Newcastle.

A total of 30 scouts took part. The activity was for their community challenge badge.

They were split into groups and decided what they wanted to cook. They had to prepare a menu and decide how much of each ingredient they needed.

Fund-raising was required to buy the food and the youngsters, aged between 10 and 12, really showed their initiative. This included selling coffee and cakes at football matches and setting up an online page to increase the number of donations.

Each scout did something for somebody to raise the money that they needed and above in a number of cases.

The cookathon took place on a Thursday evening at the 4th Morpeth headquarters in Low Stanners and it started with a quick preparation meeting and guidance on using the camp burners and knives.

Once into their groups, they went to the Morrisons store nearby to purchase the produce that they required before returning and beginning the cooking experience. All of the ingredients were fresh.

Each meal was cooked on a camping stove and at the end of the evening, chicken stews, beef stews, Bolognese and various meat and vegetable soups had been produced.

Liz Waterfield, leader of the 4th Morpeth Thursday troop, said: “In order to get the badge, the scouts had to carry out six hours of community service. One day I got chatting to a colleague at work who supports Making Winter Warmer and after discussing it with the 4th Morpeth team, we decided that a cookathon would be a great way for our young people to help others in need. They really took to the activity and they loved the experience.

“They enjoyed making the food and it helped that they knew they were making something tangible and worthwhile.

“We were proud of what they achieved. The target was 10 meals for each scout, but they did even more than that and the total was nearer 400 in the end. Hopefully, we will repeat the activity in the future.”

All of the meals were frozen and to complete the challenge, the scouts – accompanied by an adult and/or scout leader – took it in turns over a five-week period to hand over some of the food to the Making Winter Warmer team at the stall they set-up near the Monument each Friday so they could make it ready for consumption.

Liz added: “The scouts were able to chat to the team to find out more about the organisation.

“We told them that we have money left over from the fund-raising and they have asked us to purchase rucksacks, which they will use for weekend packs.”