27th Jan, 2022

Coventry's lottery-winning chefs help city's Langar Aid provide meals for more than 100 homeless and isolated

A COVENTRY couple who won £1million on the EuroMillions in 2015 have helped feed more than 100 homeless, isolated and vulnerable people in the city after donating food and drinks to Langar Aid.

Bill and Cath Mullarkey, who are both trained chefs, designed a dish based upon a Caribbean curry from Cath’s native St Lucia with the charity’s chefs and volunteers serving up the meals on Saturday.

Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions Bill and Cath were unable to cook the meals themselves but worked with Langar Aid volunteer chef Jim Eaves to create a special Caribbean themed curry.

The winning couple purchased the ingredients, prepared cooking instructions, and delivered everything to the Upper Spon Street-based charity for Jim and his team to prepare.

Over 100 dishes were made with the couple also supplying serving dishes, cutlery and drinks and snacks.

They also dropped off snacks and treats for all the volunteers.

Bill said: “I saw the Langar Aid guys on the TV dishing out meals to stranded lorry drivers on the M20 over Christmas.

“I was inspired and wanted to help them look after homeless people in Coventry.

“Ordinarily Cath and I would have gone into the kitchens and cooked everything but working with Stuart was the best way of still making a difference while minimising contact.”

The Caribbean vegetable and coconut curry had rice and peas on the side, along with drinks.

“We also handed over lots of chocolate bars as treats,” added Bill.

Warwick University Chef Jim Eaves, who volunteers every Saturday night spoke with Bill and Cath beforehand to plan the recipe and then with others, cooked and packed the 100 plus dishes.

During Covid-19 all food is cooked inside Langar Aid House by trained chefs and volunteers and which is then distributed outside the building by dedicated volunteers.

They hand out bags of food including drinks and snacks to those who attend.

The numbers fluctuate each night, but nothing goes to waste with any left-over food going to local hostels.

Cath said Jim was brilliant when they chatted through meal ideas and ingredients for the vegetarian meals.

“He and the other volunteers give up their spare time and stand out in all weathers – it’s so cold at the moment, a lot colder than St Lucia and I am in awe of the work they do.

“That’s why Bill and I wanted to also give something to the volunteers as well to say thank you.”

This isn’t the first time the Coventry couple have cooked for citizens.

Bill and Cath cooked up a three-course Caribbean-themed Christmas meal for 100 pensioners at the Jubilee Crescent Community Centre two years ago.

With fellow Coventry winners Ian Dunn and Karen McDougall together with Paul and Ginny Wood serving and waiting on the group, the couple also hired a steel band to add to the tropical theme of the event.

Avtar Kaur, Project Manager at Langar Aid said: “Thank you Bill and Cath.

“It was great to see so many people enjoy their Caribbean curry on Saturday night.

“It was the first time we’ve had a Caribbean dish and it went down very well with lots of positive comments.

“The service members were very grateful, and we hope to see Bill and Cath soon.”

Currently Langar Aid is serving over 100 hot meals every evening, seven-days-a-week from its centre – Langar Aid House in Spon End.

Since March 2020, they have been working seven-days-a-week providing free hot meals and emergency food parcels to vulnerable families and individuals across the West Midlands.

From March 2020 until now they have served over 150,000 hot meals and food parcels.

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