Portsmouth pub serves up hot Christmas meals for dozens of homeless people
HOT meals were dished up by a city pub helping to make sure homeless people are not forgotten or ignored this Christmas.
Guests at The LifeHouse in Southsea were treated to a two-course Christmas dinner to bring some festive cheer to these tough times, thanks to staff at the Duke of Buckingham pub in the High Street, Old Portsmouth.
The LifeHouse, an all-round service for those who are homeless or in temporary accommodation, offers hot food, food parcels, counselling and more for people in need.
Andrew and Fiona Harvey, from the Duke of Buckingham pub, have been supporting The LifeHouse for four years through Christmas raffles and hot food throughout the year.
In the past week, the pair organised for more than 100 two-course dinners to be delivered for guests at The LifeHouse and have offered assistance on Christmas Eve as well.
Andrew said: ‘The pandemic has certainly changed how we could help and in the first lockdown supported the LifeHouse for five weeks totalling 250 dinners.
‘Sometimes in life we have no choices and need a little help. In normal years, December would offer a lucrative time for our business.
‘So giving something back was important to me, and not to take what we had for granted.
‘This year hasn't been so fruitful. But life goes on and the guests at the LifeHouse didn't ask for the pandemic and shouldn't be ignored. That's why we reached out.’
Mike Morell, manager of The LifeHouse, said the delivery was the ‘star on top of the tree’ and thanked the pub for its generosity.
Andrew added: ‘As a business the future looks bleak with much uncertainty and if we were unable to continue at the Duke then at least over the years we would have done our bit and asked nothing in return.’
The LifeHouse is one of the beneficiaries of this year’s Comfort and Joy campaign, backed by The News, which will see thousands of pounds in supermarket vouchers shared out to those who need it.
Mike said: ‘It does mean an awful lot to our boys and girls who are homeless to have a tangible Christmas present like a voucher, even if it’s just a few pounds.
‘The freedom of choice that gives is a real lift and really quite a treat and also an expression of trust that they don’t normally get from folks in the situation they’re in.’
Another boost for The LifeHouse has come from Marks and Spencer’s food redistribution programme.
A colleague app, launched at the start of the pandemic, is now used to notify charities when surplus food is available, helping to increase donations and stop food going to waste.
Nathan Hussey, store manager at the Ocean Retail Park store, said: ‘When we have surplus food our absolute priority is for it to end up on someone’s plate, through our charity redistribution programme with Neighbourly.
‘We’re thrilled that the app has already helped to make such a difference to charities like LifeHouse Food Kitchen, and hope to continue to support charities across Portsmouth this season to support our local community and help prevent food going to waste.’