Pay it forward: The Leeds food cafe that lets customers feed those in need

A kind-hearted Leeds caterer is encouraging his customers to buy food and drink for the homeless.

Friday, 10th February 2017, 9:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 11:32 am

Michael Pratt has introduced a 'Pending Coffees' project at his Kirkgate Market food stall, The Yorkshire Wrap Company.

Inspired by a similar American movement, the Pending Coffees scheme allows customers to pay for a vulnerable person to collect a hot drink or meal at a later date.

Anyone who pays an extra £1 is given a post-it note to attach to a board. Homeless people can then visit the cafe, remove a post-it and redeem it for the food or drink that has already been paid for.

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"I have a friend who's involved in the Real Change Street Kitchen on City Square, and I've been reading about the American movement, so I thought I'd give it a go - there are too many homeless people on our streets," said Michael, who has recently opened his stall selling filled wraps made from Yorkshire pudding batter.

"The response has been absolutely overwhelming - I've been blown away. A photo of the board on our Facebook page has had over 1,400 shares, and people have been popping in and just handing over money, without even ordering food for themselves," added the former care worker, who lives in Moortown.

"I'm going to go up to Real Change at some point and introduce myself to the homeless people there so we can spread the word. We've already had a couple in this morning and three or four yesterday."

Michael is hoping to encourage vulnerable customers to visit the stall during the food hall's quieter periods between 9-10am and 3-4pm.

"At first it was just hot drinks, but people have been paying for wraps, and the butchers who supply us will be donating £10 per week towards the food. I'm the first business in the food hall to do something like this, but I'm hoping it might start the ball rolling and others will follow suit."