Hartlepool couple cook more than 20 free dinners for people who were alone on Christmas Day
A Hartlepool couple have helped people in need have a better Christmas after cooking over 20 free dinners.
Tia Evans, 21, and James Smith, 26, truly got into the Christmas spirit after they cooked 24 free dinners for people who were alone on the day or couldn’t have a warm festive meal.
The kind couple decided they wanted to help and give back to the community following the tough times brought by the pandemic and reached out on social media asking people to contact them if they can’t afford a meal.
They ended up cooking over twice as many meals than their original offer of 10 dinners.
James said: "It was rewarding. It was good that we had so many messages from people at the end, saying that we’d made their Christmas, it was the most stress-free Christmas they’ve had and that they couldn’t thank us enough.
"It went to the people that needed it and that was important.
"Obviously, it’s not on a massive scale, it’s only 24 people, but it means that it’s 24 people who’ve had a better Christmas, so we’re happy with that.”
Tia and James started preparing the food from 8pm on Christmas Eve, finishing the prep at around 2am in the morning and the actual cooking began at 8am on Christmas Day.
Each dinner contained carrot soup, belly pork or beef and Yorkshire puddings, with people also donating sweets and hot chocolate cones for additional hampers.
"We didn’t sit down for hours,” said James.
He continued: "We got up really early. Everything was cooked fresh on the actual day. It was all oven cooked.
"We wanted the quality to be exactly the same quality as what we were eating. It was the finest beef, it was actually all on Tesco’s finest.
"We wanted it to be a dinner that we would be happy eating. Everything was home-made, Tia made all the Yorkshire puddings.”
Members of the Brass Monkey Swimmers group stepped in to deliver the dinners.
James said: "They showed their Christmas spirit as well.
"It was really nice of the people who actually did deliver. We’re really grateful for them.
"We got some lovely messages, people in tears, saying how nice Christmas they’ve had. It was really worthwhile.“