A father-of-two has helped feed thousands of homeless people across the UK by getting people to donate food using the Wetherspoons app.
Chris Illman runs the Facebook group ‘Wetherspoons the Game’, that helps people coordinate food donations for the homeless, reports the Metro. People use the group to post what table they are sitting at and others use the Wetherspoons app to send food over that then gets delivered to those in need. Mr Illman started the group in 2018, as a light-hearted way of seeing how many people would send drinks to his table.
But the 39-year old turned it into a good cause that now has 131,000 members who have helped donate over £10,000 worth of food. He said: “We’ve done nine feeds so far up and down the country. As soon as restrictions are eased we will be doing them all over the country again but currently we are doing them local.”
He added: “In Liverpool the night went mad. We were sent over £6,000 worth of food and drink in the space of two hours and it was mental. The system didn’t stop beeping. We were all running round like mad and the bar was covered in order tickets. It was probably one of the best nights of my life.”
“Even the lockdown hasn’t stopped us helping people. We were helping struggling families out by getting them a takeaway or a shop delivered completely anonymously. It’s such an amazing feeling, there’s no other way to put it really, seeing someone’s reaction when you turn up with stacks upon stacks of pizza is absolutely priceless. There’s been tears, smiles and lots of swearing.”
Currently the group is trying to help struggling families by giving them a Christmas dinner “after such a rough year”. Mr Illman wanted to use multiple Wetherspoons tables in different cities to carry out thousands of feeds this Christmas but says he needs to adjust their plans according to the tighter restrictions.
He said: ‘With the current climate we unfortunately can’t really plan anything. I’d love to be able to say we will be out every month feeding the homeless but we just don’t know what’s happening with the lockdown and tier restrictions. But don’t worry, we will be out there doing what we do as often as we possibly can. We also managed to help over 50 families with a takeaway and 20 families with some shopping, all bought by group members and sent directly to the families.”
Throughout the year the group have been delivering meals in cities across the UK depending on what restrictions have been in place in different times. Mr Illman commended the “amazing people” on the group who once sent more than £6,000 worth of food in two hours. In Southampton they limited the donations to 200 pizzas, which had all been brought within 45 minutes.
“The way my family, friends and all of our members have responded has been incredible. It reminds you that the world is full of selfless, good people,” said Mr Illman.