Ehsan Shahid Choudhry, a British Pakistani charity worker, has been honored with the prestigious British Empire Medal (BEM) for his remarkable efforts in feeding the homeless and needy individuals in West London through his initiative called “Open Kitchen.” Over the past several years, this initiative has provided meals to tens of thousands of people.
Choudhry’s significant contributions to the charitable sector in the UK have been recognized in the first King’s Birthday Honours List of 2023. Besides his charitable work, he is also a highly regarded Urdu language poet and columnist, known for his contributions to Daily Jang.
The BEM award is a testament to Choudhry’s dedication to serving the community in the London Borough of Hounslow. From the Open Kitchen base near Hounslow, he and his team feed nearly 500 homeless, refugees, and individuals in need every day.
Expressing his gratitude, Choudhry shared with Geo News, “I am deeply honored to receive the British Empire Medal (BEM) for my services to the local community. It is a privilege to serve those in need, and I am committed to fulfilling my responsibilities to the best of my abilities.”
Choudhry credits his upbringing in Pakistan, where he was taught the value of helping others by his parents and teachers, as the foundation for his philanthropic endeavors. The Open Kitchen, which he initiated around six years ago with the support of a charity, quickly gained recognition as a successful community service project. The initiative attracted hundreds of residents from the area who came to enjoy hot meals twice a day from a diverse buffet featuring fresh meat, fish, vegetarian options, fruits, puddings, and various condiments.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, the Open Kitchen temporarily closed its doors but resumed its operations as the pandemic increased poverty and exacerbated the need for such services. Choudhry remarked, “The demand has increased, and we now serve hundreds of people from across West London for two meals a day, both at lunch and dinner. We prioritize providing high-quality food to those in need, ensuring they are treated with respect and dignity. The local council has recognized our efforts and awarded us a 5-star rating for the food we prepare and serve.”
Choudhry expressed his appreciation for the full-time staff of the Open Kitchen and acknowledged the invaluable contributions of dozens of local volunteers who support the team in assisting the needy on weekdays and weekends.