First published in the Saddleworth Independent
AN UPPERMILL restaurant manager has been dubbed a “little hero” for inspiring members of the public and local businesses to join in his efforts to support the homeless.
Andrew Smith, manager of Anglo-Italian restaurant Dinnerstone, put his Compassion in Covid plan into action on November 14, aiming to help feed and clothe those in need this winter.
Andrew Smith surrounded by donations
Generous food donations from people in the community were soon transformed into hearty, nutritious meals by Dinnerstone’s chefs before being distributed to several different homeless charities.
Charles Brierley, who owns Dinnerstone and The White Hart, said: “Andy Smith has a big heart. In the first lockdown, he suggested to the team that they donate their March tips to a homeless charity.
“With the country now in lockdown again, Andy’s first thought was to do a collection for the homeless and see if people would help prepare meals.
“With his inspiration the community has come together. The food donations were incredible. So much so, he sent an appeal out for people to help peel and prepare all the veg.
“So, on Sunday, people returned and collected veg, some of which they may well have donated on Saturday, took home, peeled and chopped and return the prepared food.”
Support for Andy’s plan didn’t just come from members of the public as other local restaurants became inspired and got involved.
Charles continued: “Other restaurants and pubs helped collect food to prepare and cook dishes.
“The White Hart at Lydgate, The Waggon, Muse, Granby, Cross Keys, Shalimar, Sorella and Rioja, along with Diggle Lock have all been getting involved.
“The people of Saddleworth have once more proved themselves to be a kind and thoughtful community, led by ‘Smiffy’, my little hero.”
And it’s not just warm meals being donated – at least 125 sacks containing up to 200 winter coats, hats, gloves, tops and pants, as well as more than 100 sleeping bags, were also donated.
Andrew has also set up a JustGiving page for anyone who wants to donate but could not attend on the day. He has raised almost £900 and counting, and you can donate too here.