Burger van owner to cook up a storm for Portsmouth's homeless on Christmas Day

A BURGER van owner will be taking the season of goodwill to the max on Christmas morning.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 12:49 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 2:18 pm
Billy Willett, owner of the Happy Eater in Commercial Road, Portsmouth. Picture: Sarah Standing (180857-2710)

Billy Willett, the owner of the Happy Eater burger van found in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, will be opening the hatch to feed dozens of people who are either homeless or lonely in the city – free of charge.

Mr Willett, who has opened his van up on Christmas Day in the past, says he wants to give people who have nothing or no-one else on Christmas Day a sense of camaraderie and community for the day.

He expects to cook up close to 100 breakfast rolls that morning.

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‘We had so many people turn up last year and it was an incredibly heartwarming morning,’ he said.

‘Doing something like this makes you feel good because it’s a nice way to give back and you get to see people with a smile on their face – when they would otherwise be sat in a shop doorway or alone at home.’

Mr Willett’s Christmas morning breakfasts will be buoyed by community support, with mince pies and presents to give out to people as well.

He said: ‘It’s incredible to think how many people help us out, there’s an amazing community spirit when it comes to things like this.

‘I know there are people who give out food for the homeless on an almost weekly basis, but it’s nice for them to have something to wake up to on Christmas Day.’

But while much of the focus is on the rough sleepers, Mr Willett says people who are lonely can often get overlooked at this time of year.

He says caring for them is just as important, especially on days like Christmas.

‘You don’t necessarily stop to think about it', he said.

‘But there are so many people who would otherwise spend Christmas Day by themselves and I think that’s quite sad.

‘You see them down here chatting to everyone else and it really puts a smile on your face.’

Billy's van will be open from 8am to 11am on Wednesday, December 25.