Leicester

Leicester friends' Christmas dinner challenge feeds 700

Jack Meldrum serving food Image copyright Jack Meldrum
Image caption Jack Meldrum came up with the idea for feeding hundreds while Christmas shopping

A group of friends have fed a Christmas dinner to more than 700 people over three days.

Jack Meldrum, from Leicester, came up with the idea of feeding hundreds of homeless and struggling people while Christmas shopping in the city.

The 23-year-old said seeing the amount of people living on the streets made him want to do something "meaningful".

He described the last few days as "draining" and said some of the people he met reduced him to tears.

Image caption Mr Meldrum was aided by friends Tallulah Horton and George Stewart

Mr Meldrum had been planning to feed 1,000 people in the Midlands on 16, 17 and 18 December and is still hoping to feed the remaining 300 at another time.

Graduate Mr Meldrum had the help of his De Montfort University friends George Stewart and Tallulah Horton and about 20 other young volunteers.

The friends funded the food by raising more than £2,500 on an online donation website.

The meals were prepared at Kirby Muxloe Golf Club in Leicestershire with Mr Stewart, a professional chef, in charge of the cooking.

In three days, the trio said they cooked 26 turkeys and half a tonne of potatoes.

Image caption More than 700 people have been fed in three days

Among those to take up the offer of a Christmas dinner were the YMCA in Leicester and All Souls Church and Community Centre in Nottingham.

Paul Traynor, who organises a weekly meal for the homeless at the centre, said Mr Meldrum and Mr Stewart did a "cracking job".

"When we get people like Jack and George it's so very important - they did everyone proud," he said.

Mr Meldrum added: "It's been really hard. You're never quite aware of how many struggling people there are out there.

"There have been tears. Not in front of them but when I got home. Everyone deserves to be fed."

Image copyright Jack Meldrum
Image caption Ingredients needed for the Christmas dinners have been bought with money raised on a fundraising website

Money left over from the online fundraiser is going to be spent on essential items for homeless and struggling people.

Mr Meldrum said he's going to take some people shopping to get them what they really need.

"This could be something as simple as tampons," he said.

The friends have been filming their challenge with plans to turn it into a documentary.

Mr Meldrum said: "We want to show the world what young people can achieve and how easy it is to help others."

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