Photographer Reece James Morrison shines a light on food banks, documenting a day at The People's Kitchen in Newcastle.

In Reece’s own words: “Over the past two years, I have been documenting the North East of England and encapsulating how the city is coping, adjusting, struggling and overcoming the economic and societal issues we’re all facing as a result of the pandemic. I initially began this project “A Work In Progress” by photographing my everyday interactions, to focus on the extraordinary amongst the mundane, and really relate to those affected; whether they be key workers, passing strangers or even still-life imagery which was symbolic of the times we’re living in.


As I began to gain momentum with the project, I wanted to learn more about the small knit communities and charities in the area which were helping to make a difference day-to-day to those that needed it. I’ve worked with food banks, local allotments, and the coronavirus vaccine bus service to help tell their story and speak to people who are committed to making a difference. Listening to those in need has really helped me to understand the issues we’re facing at a local level but also as a nation. With this project, I wanted to highlight the differences that can be made at a local level to encourage others to do the same in their regions.

In this specific piece of work, I wanted to revisit “The People’s Kitchen” food bank in Newcastle. Last year, the food bank was providing food, donations and clothes to the homeless and those in need during the pandemic. Due to restrictions in June 2020, these donations were provided via drop-offs and collection, as they were not able to welcome people inside due to the ‘rule of 6’. This year however, the charity has been able to welcome their guests inside, which means that the homeless were able to seek shelter, enjoy a breakfast and collect donations and clothes from the volunteers and those who have donated.


Before providing captions to specific images, it is worth noting that the volunteers at “The People’s Kitchen” refer to the homeless as “friends”, as a lot of their visitors prefer not to disclose their names for personal reasons or be labeled as “homeless”. I did take the names of people who felt comfortable however”.

Chris, a "friend" of the kitchen, waits outside for his breakfast to be delivered. Chris was nervous to be inside with a lot of people given the rise of the Omicron variant, so felt more assured waiting outside with his pet dog Shane who is very popular with the volunteers.
Mari-Ann and Irina prepare breakfast before the "friends" arrive.
Alex looks after Shane whilst Chris collects his breakfast.
Richard enjoys his full English and cup of coffee. Richard was a beam of energy with such optimism for the present and future. He was refreshing to talk with.
Anya and Christine on tea and coffee duty.
The volunteers of The People's Kitchen serving breakfast to the "friends".
Brian (right), chatting to Alex (left) about his time as a photographer over the years. Seeing me with my camera really brought home the memories from the past. Brian also pointed me in the direction of other local food banks and charities I can work with.
Brian after his breakfast. I chatted with Brian a lot on this day, he really inspired me to keep up the project, as he was the embodiment of the difference it can make. Brian relies on food banks and donations to eat, drink and sleep during the week; he was very persistent in praising the volunteers at The People's Kitchen.
Sarah drafts up a message to greet the "friends". The atmosphere in this place makes a world of difference, and the volunteers bring their A game every-time.
Glenda texting the volunteers with updates regarding the day prior to them arriving. I couldn't not take a photo of this phone case; I thought it symbolised the North East perfectly.
A "friend" of the kitchen waiting to tuck into his breakfast. He was intrigued by my camera and asked if he could model for me. I'm often taken aback by the attitude and mannerisms of the "friends" in the kitchen despite their circumstances. I always leave the kitchen feeling blessed and proud of the area I'm from after interacting with such people.