A Nando’s chain in Scotland’s biggest city has been inundated with support after it announced that it would be opening its doors to as many as 150 local rough sleepers for a festive meal on Christmas Day.
The Waterloo Street chicken restaurant posted on Facebook about the initiative, adding that they would be collecting donations of toiletries, gloves, hats, scarves and socks that could be wrapped up and given to the diners as gifts. Hundreds of people have reacted to the post and pledged to help out.
Staff said they are in the process of arranging meetings with local homelessness charities who can invite rough sleepers to the dinner through their outreach activities.
General manager Andy told The Big Issue: “The response has just been amazing. We think we’ll run it a little like a soup kitchen – we’re talking to charities like Help the Homeless who can invite people they meet on the streets.”
Staff approached Andy with the idea to give something back to the community this Christmas and he was “delighted to run with it”.
He added: “We really need the public’s help and generosity to make up some parcels of basic essentials for everyone who comes for a meal.
“We’re putting a bin oat our entrance for the public to drop off donations. But the support has already been amazing – it could be a struggle to store it all!”
“One person has even offered to sing to give the diners some entertainment, while someone else is making cupcakes for everyone to bring in on Christmas morning.”
The Christmas dinner will be manned by staff volunteers, but is not a corporate initiative. The branch already sends leftover food out with outreach works a few times a week to feed rough sleepers, and staff have gotten to know some homeless people who spend time on the street nearby.
Some of the donations of warm clothing and toiletries will go to rough sleepers before Christmas to keep them warm in the cold months, while the rest will be wrapped up to present to those who have their festive meal at the Nando’s branch.
The restaurant is accepting donations during opening hours.