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Bringing Christmas joy to all

By Sophie McCarrick [email protected]

Hungry people from the streets of Portimão were treated to a Christmas lunch on December 19 at the Soup Kitchen of Portimão (A Cozinha), an establishment supported by the International Christian Fellowship Church (ICFC).

Following significant support from the Lynford Trust and voluntary help from members of the ICFC, a lunch of roast pork, boiled potatoes, cabbage, peas, carrots and gravy, finished off  with home-made brownies and chocolate sauce, was served to the 76 people, most of who are fighting to survive without a home or a job.

The kitchen operates every Monday from 4pm until 5.30pm with an average of between five and seven volunteers.

Men wearing their new boots outside the Soup Kitchen.
Men wearing their new boots outside the Soup Kitchen.

However, on December 19 a team of 22 multi-national volunteers pulled together to cook and serve food, wash dishes, present Christmas gifts and make it a special occasion.  

Christmas gifts of boots and socks were bought for regular users, due to a donation of €1,000 from the Lynford Trust, an organisation that helps provide to the needy in the Algarve.

Volunteer Joy Borgan told the Algarve Resident: “It was really special being able to buy new shoes for these people. I have never had more fun in my life going Christmas shopping! I knew when we were buying these presents that they were going to light up someone’s life- and they did.”

Gloves were also purchased with money raised from a sale of fudge, home-made by Pauline Hoare, a member of the ICFC.

53 pairs of boots wrapped under the Christmas tree.
53 pairs of boots wrapped under the Christmas tree.

Living hope

After the meal, a Christmas message of hope was given by Pastor David Borgan from the ICFC.

“Many of these people are not only suffering from physical hunger, but are also very lonely and giving up on life, our goal is to give them hope and let them know that God really cares about them, and so do we,” said Joy Borgan.

The Soup Kitchen is open to anyone who is hungry and in need. Upon arrival to the kitchen, people are not asked for personal information or documents.

“The only reason we ask for people’s name is to become their friend,” Joy said.

Half of the food is provided by the ICFC, with the rest coming from individuals including donation of ham, cheese, chopped vegetables, tins of beans, home-made cakes and, on occasion, local bakeries provide left over bread.

Shoes were given to 57 people but some 20 other people also gave in their name and size at the Christmas lunch, with the hopes of receiving a pair this winter.

Joy added: “It is not too late to donate a pair of shoes, food, blankets, warm clothing or money. All donations are appreciated.”

If you would like to help, please contact Joy Borgan on 917 358 098 / 282 042 836 or e-mail [email protected].