Volunteers produce a sharing and caring feast in Portsmouth

Volunteers and guests at Portsmouth FoodCycle's Christmas feast
Volunteers and guests at Portsmouth FoodCycle's Christmas feast
Stuart Hill (left) and his brother Jason Hill, who both died in the Grand Canyon helicopter crash. Picture: Family handout/PA Wire

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With temperatures hovering around freezing, the period between Christmas and New Year was a horrible time for rough sleepers.

That’s why volunteers with FoodCycle Portsmouth, a charity which provides hot meals to vulnerable people, took over a church for a Christmas feast.

Kings Church, in Somers Road, was transformed for the event, on Thursday, December 28, when 100 homeless and socially-isolated people sat down for a delicious meal with chocolates, crackers, coffee and presents.

All the food was donated by supermarkets who willingly handed over their surplus stock for a good cause.

Gail Baird, from FoodCycle, said: ‘We noticed last year there were a number of places open on Christmas day for those in need, but in the period between Christmas and the New Year most support services were shut.

‘That week can be challenging for the best of us, but for those whose life-line’s are not there, it can be desperate. We decided to bridge that gap and are delighted it was so special, not just for our guests but for the volunteers too.’

More than 35 volunteers from FoodCycle and the LifeHouse worked through the day lifting and shifting equipment and food to cook up a veritable feast – including all the seasonal trimmings.

Gail added: ‘Guests were struck by the beautiful and atmospheric setting and told us they thoroughly enjoyed the fabulous food chocolates, crackers and coffees, gifts and of course the ubiquitous mince pies’.

The event was organised in partnership with the LifeHouse and supported by Tesco Fratton, Asda, Waitrose, the Rotary Club of Waterlooville, John Pounds Church, John Pounds Centre, King’s Church, members of the public and MMD Shipping.

‘It could not have been possible without the continued generosity of all our volunteers who we thank very much. What a night! Happy new year and roll on 2018’, said Gail.

FoodCycle Portsmouth always needs more volunteers. If you think you can help, call Gail on 07809 558474 or e-mail gail.baird@johnpoundscentre.co.uk. Alternatively, go to foodcycle.org.uk/location/portsmouth-hub.