Football star Steven Naismith buys Christmas meal for 300 homeless people
Football star Steven Naismith has sponsored a Christmas meal for 300 homeless people in Glasgow.
Naismith, who is a striker for Everton and his national team, Scotland, paid for the meal put on by a charity whose work he described as "humbling and inspiring".
The player, who has been widely recognised for his charity work, sponsored the meal through the charity Loaves and Fishes. Anyone can sponsor an evening or two, or an individual meal.
Naismith said: "When I was at Rangers and had a few bad injuries and wasn't playing I thought it was a good opportunity to start helping, so I spoke to family and friends about where I wanted to make a difference if I could and Loaves and Fishes got brought up a couple of times.
"I am privileged to have the opportunity to once again support the great work that Denis and his team of helpers do for people in need in Glasgow - giving them a hot meal, clothes, food parcels and probably most importantly, a warm welcome from people who care."
He was inspired by how much the charity does for those in need. He enjoys hearing the views of the homeless people on football. "Many of their stories make difficult listening, because of the severity of hardship they have endured."
He added: "It's something I do look forward to when the winter season hits, it's like the start of Christmas for me if you like. It's a great start to it. The biggest thing for me is when you go in and you see how upbeat everybody is, how much of a laugh they're having and they tell you how much it means to them, that's what gives me the most satisfaction."
Naismith has also provided tickets throughout the season for unemployed fans through Jobcentreplus in Liverpool.
Loaves and Fishes is run by run by Denis and Cathy Curran.
Naismith said: "It was wonderful to see Denis being awarded an MBE by the Queen. I know he was humbled to receive the honour and not a little embarrassed, too."
Curran told the Liverpool Echo: "We really appreciate Steven's continued support and compassion. Apart from the money he has donated, the awareness he creates is priceless. The calls and donations we receive following these events are fantastic.
"Steven is a very special young man. The fact that he is not only continuing his support of Loaves and Fishes, but also building upon it by doing the same for the Whitechapel Centre in Liverpool says much about the type of man he is.
"Since he started helping us, Steven and his wife Moya now have a young family of their own with a two-year-old daughter and a new arrival early next year and yet he still finds time to show care and compassion for others living a very different life to his own."