Hungry, homeless and lonely people in Hartlepool will be given a Christmas to remember, thanks to a generous donation from a social club in the town.
St Aidan’s Kitchen volunteers are over the moon after receiving a £2,500 donation from Owton Manor Social Club.
The project, based at St Aidan’s Church, in St Aidan’s Street, is open every Thursday, between 11am and 1pm, providing hot meals and groceries for people who are hungry, homeless, or in any kind of need.
Started last year, the kitchen attracts about 120 people each week.
It celebrated its first Christmas last year with more than 100 people turning out to celebrate the festive season with a free meal.
Once again it plans to hold another Christmas Day meal and expects 150 people to attend.
It faced the prospect of weeks of fundraising to get enough money to pay for the meal, but now the stress of raising funds has been taken away thanks to the generous donation.
Rev Gemma Sampson, who runs the project along with a team of volunteers, said: “I didn’t even know they were doing it until I got a phone call on Monday from one of the directors of the social club who’d heard we were doing a Christmas dinner for the hungry, homeless and lonely in the town.
“They asked how much it cost to put it on and I said about £2,000 and he said, great, they would like to give us a donation of £2,500.”
Owton Manor Social Club has been fundraising throughout the year to raise the funds.
Rev Sampson added: “I am sure there are other people feeding the hungry and homeless this Christmas Day, but it was amazing that they have chosen us for the donation.
“It is brilliant, but people in Hartlepool are like that – they are kind and generous.
“It’s just good that we don’t have to worry about where the money is going to come from.
“I wasn’t worried that the money wouldn’t come in, but it would have been quite time-consuming for it to tot up.
“Last year was the first Christmas Day meal that we did, since we opened last August.
“We have 120 people per week coming on a Thursday, and it is just a case of extending it for Christmas Day, as everyone deserves to gave a good Christmas.”
For more details on how to get involved or use the service, search St Aidan’s Kitchen on Facebook.