Team from Wymondham’s Cross Keys pub help those in need get through winter
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Not much could be worse than the prospect of spending freezing winter nights huddled on the pavement of a city street.
But the daunting thought that ever more people are homeless has jolted a group from the Cross Keys pub in Wymondham into action.
The pub closed its doors one afternoon during the Christmas break so staff members and volunteers could cook and prepare food. They then went to Haymarket in Norwich to serve it up to the homeless and others in need.
Gary Smith, the Cross Keys's landlord, said: 'We were only on the streets for two hours and we felt the cold in that period, so you can only dread to think of what it would be like when you don't have something warm inside your belly or something warm to put on.
'We made hot jacket potatoes, home-made stew, there was four cars' worth - not a single person that came to us went away hungry.'
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Mr Smith said the pub had since become a hub for people to donate food, sleeping bags, clothes and other essentials for distribution to the homeless.
He said the idea for the appeal came from a staff member, who also volunteers with the city's Anon Street Team.
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This team was set up in 2013 to feed the homeless and distribute donations.
Mr Smith said a lot people had given generously to the appeal.
He said: 'There has been a huge response from the local area. People have been bringing in fresh food, bedding, sleeping bags, warm winter jumpers, toothbrushes, that sort of thing.
'A lot of these things we take for granted but people on the streets would find them very hard to obtain.
'As well as people who are homeless, Anon also helps people who have homes who are struggling financially, who basically can't afford to feed themselves.'
Mr Smith said there was also a need for dog food. He said: 'A large percentage of the people we came across, probably around 60pc, have dogs for company.'
Key items to donate
*Warm winter jumpers
Toiletries - toothbrushes, toothpaste, anti-bacterial wipes.
Mr Smith said: 'We don't require mass donations in clothing as we have a lot of this in storage. It's more the essential winter items that are required.'
*For more information or learn how to get involved, call the Cross Keys on 01953 604281.
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