The King’s College London Hot Chocolate Society is a non profit initiative founded by students to extend a helping hand to the homeless community in London, providing essential care and support to the most vulnerable in our local areas.
Their work and activity ranges from hosting outreach sessions, approaching rough sleepers with hot drinks, warm clothing, and whatever is requested and is within their means to provide as a means of starting a conversation to hear their stories, to fundraising for positive causes and giving the homeless a voice through their media campaigns.
Since the start of the academic year, the society’s committee have held outreach sessions, with team leaders managing each session, supporting and supervising the other volunteers. Working closely with our local boroughs, they go out primarily in Central London, speaking to homeless people and working with locally based organisations, such as St. John’s Church, Waterloo.
“Homelessness can happen to anyone, and too often, rough sleepers face prejudice and unwarranted stigma. If you’ve ever walked past a rough sleeper and pondered over their situation, I would urge you to take an evening off and give our outreach sessions a try!” – Wei Heng Teo
Throughout the month of March, the Hot Choc Soc are hosting outreach sessions, and they also held a “Hope not Hopeless” Panel discussion as part of this outreach on the 6th March with speakers from London-based charities such as Crisis, Connections at St-Martins, Groundswell, and community funded non-profit movements such as Off The Streets London and Breakfast in a Bag.
“I think the Hot Chocolate Society matters because university can often seem like an awful lot of privilege, and not much awareness of that fact. I think it matters because by humanising the people in our society whom are simultaneously the most forgotten and most visible, it humanises society as a whole. It matters because we all benefit; that we or they give opinions, tell stories and get problems off our chests, until there’s not a us and them – just people sat on some concrete in the evening talking. Because we’re all people. The hot chocolate is just the conversation starter.”
– Matt Williams
Another highlight of this academic year has been ‘Project Santa’, the society’s annual Christmas drive. Held in KCLSU locations on both the Strand and Guy’s campuses, they collected clothes, toiletries, sanitary products and created care packages to distribute to the homeless, ensuring that they had the essentials for the Christmas period.
“Rough sleepers have the same needs as the rest of the people. We all need someone to talk to about our day and our dreams. Even a smile can change someone’s day.” – Katerina Ageridou
If you would like to get involved with the KCL Hot Choc Society, you can join through the KCLSU website or keep up to date with their current projects through Facebook, Twitter and their main website.