A teenage girl is looking for help to set up a soup kitchen in Rushden.
Natasha Krywald was recently nominated to cut the ribbon for the new M&S store at Rushden Lakes.
The 17-year-old lost her father to terminal cancer aged just three and became a young carer after her mum became disabled when she was eight, but this has never stopped her helping others.
She was nominated to open the store for her work in the community, and is now looking to set up a soup kitchen just off the High Street in Rushden.
Natasha said: “The building is in a prime location as it is not on the main High Street, keeping potential homeless people safer and giving the public more peace of mind.
“The building may also have enough space to one day erect a small sanctuary there, similar to at the other end of town, potentially doubling the availability for the homeless to have a dry place to sleep.
“Currently there are only six homeless beds in Rushden.
“That six people is not enough to cover everyone, yet they all deserve a roof over their heads.”
Natasha recently did a sleep-out with friend Sam and it was during this that they started talking about starting a soup kitchen.
She said: “The idea came about after we got really really cold, and we realised just how bitter the nights could be.
“By about 6pm I was hungry, by 8pm I was cold and by 10pm the entire thing was becoming unbearable due to thinking about the entire cold night ahead of us.
“The turning point was when the Rotary Club offered us some warm food from their BBQ, and this simple act of kindness could quite well have saved our lives if we were truly homeless.”
Natasha wants more to be done to help the homeless, but she is appealing for support to do this.
She said: “When looking at the building, financing it is hard and in fact almost impossible as I am 17.
“But if everyone in Rushden donated £5, we could probably easily rent it.
“The entire idea is about pulling the community, the businesses, the local traders, the local media and just everyone together.”
The building would cost £800 to rent each month, as well as raising between £5,000 and £10,000 to refurbish it.
Natasha said: “A sponsor is what we are ideally looking for in order to get this started.
“The facility is the best by far due to its small office for administration, open space layout and the fact it has toilets.
“This is another basic human need and right that they should not be denied access to.”
Natasha would love to hear from anyone who can help with the setting up of the soup kitchen, and she added: “As you can tell I am very passionate about helping these people, and turning this into a project with the potential to bring a divided community together.
“We should not ever see them as street beggars, but simply as human.”