Christmas lunches are handed out to homeless people

The Southern Co-operative Volunteering Team
The Southern Co-operative Volunteering Team
The Navigator pub, Swanwick

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MORE than 100 free Christmas lunches were given out at a community centre to vulnerable people.

A team of volunteers from The Southern Co-operative went to Buckland Community Centre, in Bransbury Road, Eastney, to give out free two-course Christmas lunches.

They were handed out to people who are at risk of becoming homeless or are already homeless.

The firm, based at 1000 Lakeside in North Harbour, worked with the charities Two Saints, Central Point and PARCS.

Andreea Tudor, corporate marketing assistant at The Southern Co-operative organised the lunch.

She said: ‘Our guests enjoyed a choice of roast turkey or beef with all the trimmings.

‘This was followed by mince pies with custard or cream and tea or coffee, which was all donated by Southern Co-operative.

‘Father Christmas called in to see the little ones and we also distributed goody bags of tinned food from Portsmouth Foodbank.

‘We had masses of clothes, shoes and toiletries to give away as well, which had kindly been donated by customers at our Portsmouth stores and Homeware Essentials wholesalers.’

A team of 30 went to help give out the free lunches.

Andreea added: ‘It was lovely for us to give something back to the community at what can be a difficult time of year, and the lunch went down very well.

‘Not only that, but there was a real team spirit as 30 colleagues, including our vice-chairman and chief operating officer for retail got hands on, from peeling the sprouts and laying the tables to cooking, serving and clearing away.

‘They were joined by customer service assistants from our stores, bereavement centre and office colleagues, funeral co-ordinators and area managers from across the business.’

The Southern Co-operative actively encourages colleagues working for the Society to volunteer in work time.

In the past 10 months they have given over 4,215 hours of volunteer time back to the community across the south.