A South Bristol plumbing company well and truly embraced the festive spirit this year by providing free Christmas dinners to the homeless on Christmas Day.
Kenneth and Yvonne from Aqua-Solutions Property Services Ltd (a small Independent Plumbing and Heating Business based In Bristol) along with a team of volunteers fed a full Christmas dinner to 400 homeless people at The Macolm X Community Centre in St Pauls, Bristol.
The charitable drive began three and a half weeks before Christmas when they messaged an appeal on local social networking site, streetlife.com to spread the word. This is where I heard about the event and decided to help out, volunteering my time to get others involved and serve meals on Christmas day.
The Streetlife post entitled ‘Feeding The Homeless in Bristol on Christmas Day’, received an overwhelming response from local people across South Bristol and the surrounding areas, with people messaging and offering anything they could to support the event. As well as donating food, people volunteered their time to help prepare the meal on Christmas Eve and cook and serve the meal on Christmas Day.
Some offered to donate crackers and decorations for the hall and others supplied items that could keep people warm such as gloves, hats and scarves. One lady kindly offered accommodation for two people in her spare room.
I gave my old friend Nobby a call, he used to run sunday caveries and fish bars and is well connected in the food industry, he was able to secure an astonishing donation of vegetables from M&D Kidner at the Bristol fruit market.
Kenneth also spent time walking the local streets, informing people about the event and asking for help. Local people made their own call outs on their Facebook pages, Twitter and other social media.
Although we were aiming to serve 250-300 meals we ended up serving 580! 400 came through the doors and 180 meals were delivered to elderly and vulnerable people across Bristol.
When I saw Ken on Christmas Day at the centre he was clearly emotional and must have been experiencing a big sense of relief that it had all come together so well.
In between serving Christmas meals, I managed to talk to some of the people who had popped in for their Christmas lunch. I was amazed at their positivity despite the hardships they were facing. One man told me how he was frequently urinated on by drunk party-goers, as he slept rough on the Bristol streets. Another told me how he loved reading, and how he had finally managed to get himself a flat and was hoping it would be a way out of his negative cycle.
Although it was hard being away from my family for some of Christmas Day this year, especially being away from my 4 year old boy and 1 year old girl, I made up for it when I got home. I was glad that I had played a small part in making Christmas a little bit happier for so many other people. Let’s make it happen again next year!
“All of this was put together within three and a half weeks, amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it! We would like to thank each and every one of you for your kindness, your time and your donations. There are far to many to name individually, but suffice to say, you were all important in helping us achieve this.” Kenneth, Source: Streetlife.