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What is Next Meal Saturday?

January 25 is fast approaching and that means Next Meal Saturday is almost here.

But that may have you asking: ‘What is Next Meal Saturday?’

Next Meal Saturday is our ambitious goal of giving a Next Meal card to every homeless or vulnerable person in the UK.

A Next Meal card is more valuable than money. By giving it to someone, you’re helping them find the nearest soup kitchen, shelter, or day centre on any given day.

On January 25, volunteers will be on the streets handing out the cards to the homeless, hungry and vulnerable. 

“Even just one card can make a huge difference to someone’s life,” Next Meal founder Martin Stone said.

Next Meal Saturday started in 2019 and is now into its second year.

“Next Meal Saturday is going from strength to strength,” Martin said.

“We know it’s an ambitious goal, but that’s what Next Meal was set up for.”

This year Martin will be leading the cause from Exeter. But he encouraged people to get involved wherever they were.

Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Go to Next Meal.co.uk.
  2. Find your nearest soup kitchen.
  3. Contact them and ask how you can help, or if you can pick up Next Meal cards.
  4. On January 25, give out a card- even just one card could make a huge difference.

Use the hashtag #NextMealSaturday on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to tell us how you got on. We’d love to hear from you.

5 Easy Ways You Can Help a Homeless Person (That Don't Involve Giving Money)

There is a lot of debate about whether you should give money to homeless people.

Some argue it is better to give that money to an organisation committed to helping homeless people. A common argument against giving homeless people money is: ‘they’ll just spend it on drugs or alcohol’.

But who’s to say what a homeless person will spend their money on? And it can be quite difficult and cold to simply turn a blind eye to those in need. 

Do you turn your music up? Keep reading your book? Look away? Or politely say no?

There are plenty of ways you can help that don’t involve giving someone money, but that can still have a positive impact.

Here are a few suggestions, but it’s up to you to do whatever you feel comfortable doing.

Here are some ways you can help:

Buy someone food

Is there someone begging outside a supermarket? Buy them a sandwich or a non alcoholic drink instead of giving them money. 

Carry some small items of food with you

If you regularly pass someone begging for money, you could buy some food in advance and give it to them when you see them. Fruit and cereal bars are just a couple of ideas.

Give them a Next Meal card

The whole purpose of Next Meal is to help homeless people in a huge way, that can improve their lives much more than a few coins ever could.
If you don’t feel comfortable just giving them a card, you could give them a card along with some food, or some money, if you wish.

Donate to a homeless charity

Put your spare change aside and once you have hit a certain goal, donate that to a homeless charity of your choice. Or simply sign up for monthly payments, or make a one off payment.

Volunteer 

There are thousands of organisations across the UK that can use volunteers; soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and more. You can use NextMeal.com to find your nearest group.

How to get Next Meal cards:

  1. Go to Next Meal.co.uk and find your nearest soup kitchen.
  2. Contact them and ask how you can help, or if you can pick up Next Meal cards.
  3. Even just one card could make a huge difference to someone’s life.

How to make an easy New Year’s Resolution and help a person in need

2020 is here. The start of a new year. The start of a new decade.

So it’s time for some resolutions right?

Did you know: Research has shown that most people give up on their resolutions before the end of January.

So why not tick an easy one off within the first month of the year?

Here’s a few easy suggestions for resolutions to help other people – that’ll no doubt make you feel better about yourself too.

Volunteer 

There are thousands of organisations across the UK that can use volunteers; soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and more. You can use NextMeal.co.uk to find your nearest group.

Give out Next Meal cards

The Next Meal website can direct homeless and vulnerable people to the nearest soup kitchen, shelter, or day centre on any given day.

Next Meal cards are an easy way to spread the word and let people know they can use the Next Meal website. 

If you don’t feel comfortable just giving someone a card, you could give them a card along with some food, or some money, if you wish.

Next Meal Saturday is coming up on January 25 – a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference. Check out our Facebook page for more information.

Donate to a homeless charity

Put your spare change in a jar and once it’s full donate it to a homeless charity of your choice. Or you could sign up for monthly payments, or simply make a one off payment.

Hot off the presses… our latest newsletter

#nextmealsaturday is coming, and we’re getting ready. On January 25th volunteers will be on the streets handing out Next Meal cards to the homeless, hungry and vulnerable. 

Please join us. Over the next week we’ll be sending an action pack including cards, flyers and instructions to every centre in the Next Meal network. The more cards we can distribute, the better we can help the homeless find their nearest centre.

Also in this issue of What’s Next, Pret A Manger talk to us about helping the homeless, and we celebrate our latest Volunteer of the Month.

Read the newsletter here.

Pret A Manger – Ready to help the homeless

We asked Pret A Manger to explain some of the things they do to help the homeless and hungry

Why the name Pret A Manger and what does it mean?
Pret A Manger means Ready to Eat in French. Pret operates a bit like a restaurant. We build a kitchen in (or very near) every shop where Pret Chef’s freshly prepare our sandwiches, salads and wraps using quality ingredients

When did you open your first coffee house?
The first Pret store was opened in 1986 in Victoria by college friends and cofounders Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham. Pret has been growing ever since and we now have over 500 stores worldwide.

Where can I find a Pret?
We have Pret stores all over London and in many regional cities and towns across the UK as well as in the USA, Hong Kong, France and many more countries. You can use this search tool to find a Pret near you – http://www.pret.co.uk/en-gb/find-a-pret

What are your key values?
Pret has four core values:
– Happy teams & happy customers
– Amazing standards everyday
– Never standing still
– Doing the right thing

The work of the Pret Foundation in helping to address homelessness and poverty is a huge part of the culture and history at Pret. The Pret Foundation exemplifies the ‘doing the right thing’ value which is at the core of Pret A Manger.

What does Pret do to help homeless people?
In 1995 the Pret Foundation was set up and the foundation has grown with Pret ever since. The Pret Foundation has the goal of helping to alleviate poverty and homelessness in all markets in which Pret operates. In the UK specifically we have 3 key initiatives: the Food Donations Programme, a Financial Grants Programme and an Employment Programme.

Our Food Donations Programme ensures that our surplus food is redistributed to those in need. We partner with local charities that can collect or receive our surplus food donations and then redistribute this food to homeless service users and those struggling with food poverty.

Our Financial Grants Programme offers small grants to registered, grassroots charities who on the frontline addressing homelessness in a number of innovative and effective ways. This year we are supporting around 70 charities across the UK.

Our Rising Stars Programme offers homeless and ex-offenders real jobs and a real chance to shine, in a 3 month employment programme the Rising Stars get a paid job at Pret, prepaid travel cards, a huge amount of support, counselling sessions and a number of workshops. Since the launch of the initiative in 2008 nearly 500 Rising Stars have completed the programme.

How can a homeless project get in touch with you if they wanted receive some of your food?
Any charities interested in receiving surplus food donations can get in touch with us at charityfooddonations@pret.com

What’s Next: October newsletter

Our October newsletter is now out. As we celebrate our second birthday, we look back at some of the highlights of the last two years.

We also congratulate our first Volunteer of the Month, Bridget Lane, for her unfailing daily collections of food whatever the weather.

And we ask everyone to put Next Meal Saturday, January 25, 2020 in their diaries. This is the day when we aim to give every street homeless person in the UK a Next Meal card, and encourage them to visit their local support centre.

You can read the newsletter here.

Next Meal is two years old!

Next Meal was launched in October 2017, so we thought we’d take a look back at some of the highlights of the last two years. It’s been an exciting journey and with the help of many volunteers, we’ve come a long way in a short time. Here are our highlights:

  • From a standing start, the Next Meal website now lists almost 400 centres offering food and support.
  • As more cities have been added to the database, Next Meal has hosted launches in London, Cambridge, Bristol, Birmingham, Plymouth and Exeter.
  • Next Meal has attracted extensive media coverage, locally, nationally and most recently, globally. We’ve had features in the Financial Times, the Big Issue, on local and national BBC, and the World Service. Plus many, many more!
  • In the summer of 2018, Founder Martin Stone was recognised by the Prime Minister’s Office as a “Point of Light.” This award marks outstanding individual volunteers who are making a change in their community. 
  • In March 2018, the 3Cs business support community granted Next Meal its 3Cs innovation award.  You can read more about the 3Cs here.
  • We have engaged with hospitals, local police (and in particular Safer Neighbourhood Teams), central London hotels, churches and other faith groups to let them know about Next Meal and supply them with cards for distribution.
  • We’ve launched a monthly newsletter with news, articles and advice on best practices. We’re always growing a community of mutual support and assistance amongst those serving our vulnerable homeless people. This will never change.
  • The grant of charitable status in April 2019 has allowed Next Meal to develop into a distinct entity, independent of the Soup Kitchen from which it originated. This will help us to accelerate our plans to develop our network and increase awareness of the service.
  • Next Meal has come to the attention of politicians across the political spectrum, as a result of which it has been given the opportunity to host a launch party at the Houses of Parliament in the new year.   

But we’re just starting. There’s so much more we want to achieve and we can only do it with your help. One of our goals is to build a vibrant, effective network of centres that share experiences, resources and ideas so that we can all grow together. 

Over the coming months, we’ll be introducing various initiatives to support this aim, so please do get involved and together we can help more homeless and vulnerable people in need.