Havering cafes treat lonely and homeless Havering residents to Christmas Day lunch
PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 December 2019
Two Havering cafes opened their doors on Christmas Day to welcome lonely and homeless people for a special festive meal.
French Cafe in North Street hosted a Christmas lunch on December 25 after its first successful event in 2018.
Phoebe French told the Recorder: "We realised as a family that Christmas wasn't quite the same with just grown ups as all of the kids [in the family] are adults now.
"We didn't have anything planned for the day therefore we thought we should do something with the community.
"We didn't realise how big the response was going to be. It really proved that the community spirit is well and truly present."
The cafe's 27 guests enjoyed a three course meal which included leek and potato soup and smoked salmon.
"It was quite loud because everybody didn't stop talking," said Phoebe.
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"There was so much laughter. Stories were shared and one of the men that came actually brought his old school report from Suttons School with him to show us.
"We laughed as a lot of it said he misbehaved and was performing below average- he was a character!"
The family-run cafe hosted the event with assistance from the armed forces charity, Soldiers', Sailors' & Airmen's Families Association (SSAFA).
Elm Park Cafe in The Broadway decided to open its doors for the first time to homeless people on Christmas Day.
Matt Kurklu and Dan Koksal treated their guests to a roast turkey dinner with Yorkshire puddings, stuffing balls, pigs in blankets and roast potatoes.
Matt said: "We were very proud and happy to open our doors to homeless people on Christmas Day.
"We are always trying to make our customers happy. It is also our responsibility and duty to look after people who are in need.
"We would like to massively thank people who have supported us, firstly our customers, group members and the [individuals] who have made donations to support the homeless people on that special day."
Matt and Dan also personally delivered some of the Christmas lunch to one of their regular customers who couldn't make it event because of the slow bus service on Christmas Day.