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'I think it is wonderful' - Pedro's donate all leftover food to homeless after closure

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:57 04 May 2019

Volunteers with the donations from Pedro's - L-R Jan, Rebecca, Annie, Neil, Ben and Karen Credit: Carol McWhinnie

Volunteers with the donations from Pedro's - L-R Jan, Rebecca, Annie, Neil, Ben and Karen Credit: Carol McWhinnie

Archant

Homeless people in Norwich tucked into a tasty Mexican meal after Pedro's gave away its leftover food following its shock closure.

Sombreros laid out for a party at the former Pedro's in Chapelfield Gardens. Picture: Archant.Sombreros laid out for a party at the former Pedro's in Chapelfield Gardens. Picture: Archant.

Pedro's in Chapefield Gardens shut on Sunday night after 30 years in business and director Matthew Ward said it was because it “just wasn't busy enough”.

Despite the devastating closure, which including 20 staff losing their jobs, the team didn't want their food to go to waste.

Staff at Pedro's contacted the Norwich Food Hub who put them in touch with Food and Beverage Buggies (FABB) who give hot meals to 30 to 40 rough sleepers in the city every Thursday night.

FABB collected the food from the restaurant on Wednesday afternoon and for this week's main course served ribs, wedges, Mexican rice and guacamole which were all made from Pedro's donations.

The other main was beef casserole made from donations from Prime steak restaurant in Tombland and burgers from Bill's.

Pedro's, Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich. Pic: ArchantPedro's, Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich. Pic: Archant

Carol McWhinnie, founder of FABB, said: “We were given the number for Annie at Pedro's by the Food Hub and we contacted her and said we could definitely use the meat and get it on the streets tomorrow.

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“They gave us racks of ribs, lots of rice and tacos and lots of other stuff and also containers and takeaway cups, which will save us a lot of money, as they didn't want it to go to waste and I think it is wonderful.”

Mrs McWhinnie started FABB in September 2018 with a group of volunteers after she became worried that the real vulnerable people in Norwich were not coming to the Haymarket for food as they were worried about violence and crowds.

Every Thursday they cook the food from home, meet in front of The Forum and from 7pm to 9pm give homeless people a meal, dessert and a lunch bag for the following day in locations including St Andrew's Car Park, St Stephen's Street and Prince of Wales Road.

The food donated by Pedro's ready to give to homeless people in the city Credit: Carol McWhinnieThe food donated by Pedro's ready to give to homeless people in the city Credit: Carol McWhinnie

Mrs McWhinnie added: We have built trust and relationships with them and know their names and where their regular patches are.

“I can hand on heart say we have never had any aggression or rudeness and whenever we recruit someone new and take them on a trial walk every person says they didn't expect them to be so polite.

“I can't pinpoint the reason that there is more homelessness in Norwich but there are a lot of single young girls at the moment.

“They have come through the care system and because of budget cuts on social services they are leaving care too early without the follow-up help and just can't survive.”

If you would like to find out about donating food, visit the Norwich FoodHub Facebook page or visit norwichfoodhub.co.uk

They can also put you in touch with partner community groups such as FABB which you can donate to on paypal.me/FABBNorwich and you can view their Amazon wishlist here.

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