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Charity for the homeless plans to serve up a treat
A GROUP which supports homeless people in Oxford is hosting its biggest fundraising event to date.
The Porch, a charity in East Oxford which runs the Steppin’ Stone Centre, is cooking a three-course dinner for up to 150 guests and hopes to raise thousands or pounds.
It is on Thursday, October 10 and coincides with World Homeless Day and aims to raise awareness of the ongoing need to support homeless people.
Project worker Rachel Parfitt, 29, said she is feeling nervous about cooking for hundreds.
She explained: “It’s the first time we’ve done something like this. It’s a bit of a trial, but hopefully it will go well.
“It’s a way to fundraise, but also to raise awareness of what we do.
“We’re not trying to make it a polished meal. Instead we want to show it as the wholesome food that our members eat.”
Steppin’ Stone aims to provide homeless people and those at risk of having nowhere to live with a space to talk, eat, wash their clothes and receive free advice.
Members and staff at the centre will cook for the event with food grown at their own allotment near Florence Park.
There will also be live entertainment from the Oxford Gospel Choir.
Additionally, there will be a panel discussion with representatives from Oxford City Council, the homeless network Homeless Link and London-based homeless charity Broadways.
Centre director Nigel Northcott said it will be important to get the charity’s message across at the fundraising event.
He said: “It’s an opportunity to show what the food we give people is like and to address any misunderstandings about homelessness.”
Steppin’ Stone serves a free lunch everyday between 12.30pm and 13.30pm at the centre on the corner of Magdalen Road and Essex Street.
It employs two full-time and four part-time staff who help run the centre and lead activities and projects for its users.
Stephen ‘Stevo’ Hapch, 61, has been a member of the group for 11 years.
He said: “I help out at the allotment so much that they call me the digger.
“I think the fundraising dinner is a brilliant idea and I want to help as much as I can. “Steppin’ Stone means everything to me. It’s my family, and I feel proud to be part of it.”
The fundraising night menu includes leek and potato soup to start, chicken casserole for the main course, and a blackberry crumble for dessert.
Tickets cost £20 and the night is being held at The King’s Centre in Osney Mead, Oxford.
For more information, visit http://www.theporch.org.uk
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