At a time when most of us will be sprawled on the sofa in a food-induced coma, weary from the efforts of a turkey and roast potato binge, a London café will be focusing on bringing company and comfort to those who would otherwise be feeling lonely.
The Haberdashery in Stoke Newington usually shuts on Christmas Day but this year it’s opening its doors and heating its oven to serve a festive lunch to up to 30 people.
Co-owner Massimo Bergamin, 41, held a similar event at the Crouch End branch two years ago, after hearing that a regular elderly customer would be spending Christmas Day alone.
“Christmas is such a busy period. We’re surrounded by food and presents. And we forget some people don’t have anything at all,” Massimo told Metro.co.uk.
As well as a free Christmas lunch, guests will enjoy live music, Secret Santa presents and bingo using the café’s original ’60s machine.
Massimo’s gesture has inspired others to do a little good this festive season: many of The Haberdashery’s employees have volunteered to work on the day and Eurofrutta, the café’s fruit and veg supplier, has offered to provide the Christmas veg.
Any money donated that isn’t used for the lunch will benefit local charities who work with the elderly.
According to Age UK, 1 million lonely older people go a month without talking to anyone and they often find Christmas the hardest time to be alone. There are lots of ways you can help: by donating money or goods, volunteering and signing the petition urging the government to do more to tackle loneliness.
Hopefully The Haberdashery’s Christmas kindness will inspire more U.K. businesses to hold similar events. Imagine if every British town held a free festive lunch for the elderly and alone. That’s a great way to make a difference.