Open Door Meal

For many years, St James the Less has provided a hot meal – the ‘Open Door Meal’ – for up to 150 homeless and vulnerably housed people every two weeks, run almost entirely by volunteers.  Having had to stop for a period while renovating our Centre we reopened the ODM in June 2015 and, after having to close and then adapt during COVID are now back to normal.  Currently we have about 50 guests at each meal.  We provide a hot meal served in our Centre or can provide a takeaway.

Dates for the second half of 2023 are:

July 14th & 28th
September 8th & 22nd
October 13th & 27th
November 10th & 24th
December 8th & 15th (Christmas meal & carols)


We are always looking for volunteers to help with preparing and cooking food (from 14:00), with serving guests (arriving from 18:30 for opening the door at 19:00) and with clearing up (20:30-21:30). The meal is part of the church’s ministry but there is no faith requirement for volunteers (although volunteers usually pray together before and after the meal).

If you are interested then please contact us and see the further documents to download below.

The Open Door Meal Philosophy

Our philosophy has always been, that, while there are lots of day centres and soup runs in London, there are few places where homeless people and others can enjoy good food and socialise in a warm place in the evenings. Although we do not have the expertise to tackle the complex social problems many of our guests face, we are a link in the chain of services provided by other organisations.

Loneliness and isolation often make it difficult for those who have been on the streets to settle into accommodation or for those fighting addiction to move on to new lives. Therefore the ODM aims to show the love of Jesus by building a friendly, sociable and consistent community where all guests are welcomed, treated with dignity and can enjoy spending time with each other and the volunteers.

As one guest said, “It is so brilliant, I love it. The portions are huge and delicious, but it is not just the food, it is so much more than that, it is the generosity of the volunteers. It is wonderful here.”

Further details for volunteers (Word Documents)

Code of Conduct for Volunteers

Personal Information Form for Prospective Volunteers