This evening, 200 or more homeless people are expected turn up at a 40-foot container for a Christmas meal. Bradford Soup Run’s HQ is otherwise known as The Pavilion.

They will be given orange and mango juice fortified with vitamins; vegetable soup and soft white rolls; chicken supreme cooked with vegetables and cream; strawberry gateaux and cream; tea and coffee; After Eight mints; Christmas cake and Wensleydale cheese; and presents of socks, chocolates and items of clothing.

John Tempest and his team of ten, sometimes 11, aim to satisfy their clientele’s needs. Warmth, shelter and good helpings of hearty grub make a difference when you are out on the street in winter, as last year’s Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Dale Smith, found.

Mr Tempest said: “He played the part of Santa, giving out chocs, socks, hats, gloves and scarves. All went according to plan until a young man approached him and said: ‘Excuse me, I just wanted you to know that that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.’ “It brought home to us all just why we do what we do.”

Over the past 30 years John Tempest and his helpers have dished up more than 60,000 meals, with a special feast for Christmas. What started out in 1984 with soup and rolls has become, for 40 or so weeks of the year, a Friday night meal the homeless and hungry can rely on.

Accolades over the last 14 years of those three decades include this year’s Sovereign Health Care’s gold award of £10,000 at their recent Good All Round awards - distributing £140,000 to 14 charities in Bradford - and the 1999 Best Community Group Award in the T&A-sponsored Millennium Awards. In 2006 the Soup Run reached the finals in the BBC-sponsored British Food and Farming Awards.

The explanation for that is John Tempest’s refusal to serve left-overs. It’s the one area in which he says the charity will not compromise.

“It is important to those we feed to know they’re not being offered crumbs from the rich man’s table. Because of this, their own self-worth is enhanced,” he said.

The Soup Run is one of 17 offers of food and drink to the needy throughout the week in Bradford, all of which are listed right. The Curry Project, started by Lashman Singh in 1992, marks 21 years of non-sectarian feeding the hungry in Bradford.

Nearly ten years ago he also founded Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank,which in June handed out more than 700 food parcels to people referred by the health service or social workers.

No one need go hungry in Bradford; the city has always been big-hearted in that respect. The problem for the homeless is somewhere to stay.

That need is also being addressed. Former Roman Catholic Church St Mary’s, on East Parade, is being converted into accommodation and workshops for the homeless at a cost of £2.3 million.

Food offers

  • Sunday: 12pm-2pm: Bradford Day Shelter, Edmund Street; 6.30pm: City Lights Bus, Centenary Square
  • Monday: 9.30am-1.30pm: Emmanuel Project, St Mary's Church, Barkerend Road; 12pm -2pm: Bradford Day Shelter, Edmund Street, (plus shower and laundry)
  • Tuesday: 11am-2pm: St Pio Friary, Sedgefield Terrace; 12pm-2pm: Bradford Day Shelter, Edmund Street; 7pm-8pm: Bradford Curry Project, St Mary's Church, Barkerend Road; 8pm: ALC Streetwise Team, Centenary Square
  • Wednesday: 12pm -2pm: Bradford Day Shelter, Edmund Street; 6.30pm -7.30pm: Real Hope, Sunbridge Road Mission
  • Thursday: 11am-2pm: St Pio Friary, Sedgefield Terrace; 12pm-2pm: Bradford Day Shelter, Edmund Street; 8 pm: ALC Streetwise Team, Centenary Square
  • Friday: 10am-12pm: St Mary's Church, Barkerend Road; 12.30-2pm: St Paul’s Church, Church Street, food and drink; 8pm: Bradford Soup Run, Portland Street l Saturday: 7pm-8pm: St Mary’s Church, Barkerend