KIND-HEARTED charity workers and restaurateurs put on a free lunch for the homeless in the heart of the city.
Organisers behind Don’t Hate, Donate ran its first Saturday lunch in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, with dozens of people attending.
Now workers from the charity – which has sent tonnes of aid to Syria –have vowed to grow the event, with a doctor, mental health worker and barber due to come along to offer their services.
Around 130 homeless and hungry went along, with Spice Route, in Palmerston Road, Southsea, providing the food.
Graham Everett, 36, stays at Yew House, a resettlement hostel in the city.
‘I have been homeless for 20 years, it’s through my own fault,’ he said.
‘I live in Yew House and it means I have got to be out for 13 hours a day; me being diabetic means I can’t just sit about.
‘I found about the organisation through the day centre and I thought to myself I’d come because I’m diabetic and I need to eat.
‘It’s as tough as it can get, I have to walk about for 13 hours a day. I can’t keep doing it any more.
‘If I didn’t know this was on, I’d have to sit down and try and make money to get some food, and that’s hard enough with me being an alcoholic, but I am trying my hardest.’
Music filled the air in the square as people enjoyed the food.
The charity had also put together sandwiches for people to take with them for a second meal.
Retired postman Peter John, 66, of Buriton Street, added: ‘If it wasn’t for people like this I wouldn’t eat, I would just snack out.
‘It’s wonderful, it’s the first time here, they’re all wonderful.’
Chantelle Burton runs Portsmouth-based Don’t Hate, Donate, which was set up in 2015.
She said: ‘We do a lot of work overseas and I really felt that charity does start at home. Charity doesn’t end at home but it should start at home.
‘That’s why we really felt there was something missing in the city.
‘We’ve got some fantastic homeless services, but what’s missing is the merging of two communities, the homeless and refugee community. I wanted people out in the open and there’s no better way of doing that than with some curry.’