THE community of Portsmouth rallied to help fill the bellies of homeless people over Christmas.
Businesses and residents in Lord Montgomery Way united to donate cash and food to charity as well as holding a soup kitchen for the homeless.
Carrie Shilton, 28, organised the festive fundraiser in a bid to try and brighten the lives of those living on the city’s streets.
Carrie, who lives in Portsmouth and works at Le Café Parisien in Lord Montgomery Way, said: ‘When you walk from the café to the Guildhall it’s just saddening to see so many people living on the street. I just wanted to do something.’
Carrie started the day with a soup kitchen at Le Café Parisien.
It came after a successful appeal for help over Facebook which had been seen by thousands.
Within hours people rallied, donating food and £180.
‘The response was just overwhelming,’ added Carrie.
‘We had donations from the Co-op, Greggs and Real Country Butchers, in Copnor.
‘It was amazing to see businesses rallying so much.’
Helped out by friend Anna Farrelly, 20, and kindhearted youngster Callie Morris, eight, the trio spent hours organising food and assisting the needy inside the café.
Callie said: ‘It felt really good to do something to help.’
After finishing the soup kitchen, they presented the leftovers to the Salvation Army’s Hope House, in Milton Road.
A spokeswoman for the charity said they were thrilled with the offering.
‘We’re very humbled by what they have done and our residents very much appreciate it,’ she said.
‘It just makes their Christmas that little bit more special. For people to be able to think about others at this time of year is just very heartwarming.’
Central Point, in Kingston Road, Buckland, is a day centre for homeless.
Natalie Ennis, interim manager, said there had been a ‘significant rise’ in the number of people being supported by the charity.
She is appealing for donations for the new year and into the summer.
The site is open seven days a week. For opening details or support, call (023) 9229 8791.