Soup Kitchen London recreates real Christmas dinners eaten by people experiencing homelessness

Soup Kitchen London recreates real Christmas dinners eaten by people experiencing homelessness

‘Homeless Christmas Dinners’ is an emotive photography series featuring 10 beautiful but solemn still-life photos that reflect the make-shift meals homeless people eat at Christmas time.

The photography serves as a marked reminder that the sumptuous Christmas dinners advertised aren’t a reality for the hundreds of thousands of homeless people in the UK. 

The imagery has been captured to raise awareness and donations for the Soup Kitchen, a London-based charity dedicated to supporting people in need.

All of the meals are based on real-life experiences, garnered from conversations with regulars at Soup Kitchen London.

Meals that have been photographed include Kamga (42), who had a Christmas dinner consisting of ketchup pasta that was cooked in a hostel from long-life food donations. Paul (56), spent Christmas Day lying in hospital with a punctured lung, due to street violence, and could only eat ice cream. Wassa, (56) had a tin of baked beans that he ate cold with a supermarket wooden fork.

The campaign was created by Tad Buxton and India Penny of Wonderhood Studios and shot by food photographer Lizzie Mayson. It launched in the lead-up to the Soup Kitchen’s annual Christmas meal event taking place on Saturday 16th December. At the event, meals are provided for over 300 vulnerable people in London, along with presents and entertainment. This will be the closest many people come to having a proper Christmas dinner. A donation of just £5 will give one person a seat at the table.

The photo series is hosted online here and calls on visitors to buy someone in need a proper meal this Christmas.

Soup Kitchen London recreates real Christmas dinners eaten by people experiencing homelessness

Tad Buxton and India Penny, creatives at Wonderhood Studios, said: “We wanted to create emotive images that contrast with the extravagant food imagery usually associated with Christmas. At a time when ads and the media are showing idealised tables of food, with imagery of families sitting around to eat, it felt right to remind people that this isn’t the reality for the 271,000 people experiencing homelessness.”

Alex Brown, director of the Soup Kitchen London:Christmas is an especially difficult time of year for those in society that are less fortunate. Our commitment at the Soup Kitchen is centred around aiding those with the greatest need. We believe that every person, regardless of their circumstances, deserves a nourishing meal every day of the year and this sentiment is especially crucial during the festive period.

The photos demonstrate that not everyone has the luxury of the classic Christmas roast and put the realities of homelessness and those in vulnerable positions in clear contrast to what we commonly associate with Christmas. We hope they will inspire people to do what they can to support those in need this year.”

Lizzie Mayson, photographer, said: “This campaign really makes you stop and think. Contributing to potentially changing a homeless person's Christmas Day experience and what the difference of having a delicious Christmas lunch might feel like for many vulnerable people felt so meaningful for me. I'm honoured to have been a part of it.”

Media buying was handled by Bountiful Cow and consumer PR was handled by Mischief.


Creative Agency: Wonderhood Studios
Creative Team: Tad Buxton & India Penny
Creative Directors: Jack Croft & Stacey Bird
Senior Producer: Hannah King
Senior Designer: Ayano Takase
Head of Art & Design: Simon Elvins
Senior Data Planner: Alex Koskull
Head of Planning: Nick Exford
Account Manager: Sophie Lewis
Photographer: Lizzie Mayson
Food Stylist: Flossy McAslan
Props Stylist: Charlotte Horwood
PR Agency: Mischief
PR Team: Kitt Smith, Amy Hutson, Annie Knight & Isabelle Moore
Media Agency: Bountiful Cow

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