'It can happen to anyone': Muswell Hill man makes soup for homeless
- Credit: George Pornaris
A Muswell Hill man is on a mission to "give back to society" by handing out soup to rough sleepers.
George Pornaris, 53, launched Soupaday a month ago and has been making soup every night to feed the area’s homeless community.
The father-of-two makes enough to feed 30 people, both vegetarian and meat, and drives around north London for more than two hours to deliver the goods.
George said: “It’s so they know they’ve got somewhere which cares for them, that’s what the aim of Soupaday was.
“They’re human beings at the end of the day, and they’ve had a hard life. It could happen to anyone, we could lose our business tomorrow, not pay your bills and all of a sudden you’re out there.”
Homelessness charity Shelter’s emergency helpline has received almost 25,000 calls in England in the last two months, with a new person calling every minute.
George said when his family returned to the UK from Cyprus following the 1974 war they were virtually homeless.
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Aged seven he couldn’t speak English, and because the family moved often he didn’t make many good friends.
“It was very hard, and being highly sensitive and an empath, you pick up on everyone’s emotions, it just builds up, and I think that affected me later on in life.
“You don’t realise how traumatic it is as a child, it’s only after… I remember running away from school because I had no friends or way to communicate,” he added.
George said that a breakdown 17 years ago destroyed his marriage and left him contemplating suicide, but he got through his depression for his sons and felt determined to give back to society.
“It sounds crazy but I’m almost grateful that I went through it, because I’ve gone through it so I can help other people now, and that’s a good thing,” he said.
Each night George hands out soup, coats, socks and other necessities, and is currently supporting three people to find accommodation.
A toymaker by trade, he recently gave a gift set to a boy with autism after reading a story in the Ham&High.