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They called it "a gift from Stephen". 

Elisabeth Sherman
April 03, 2018

After Stephen Hawking passed away on March 14, the world mourned for one of its greatest minds. He advocated fiercely for further and more extensive exploration of space, most recently partnering with Yuri Milner on a project called Starshot that hopes to build small robots capable of traveling to the farthest reaches of the universe. For all his cosmic wisdom, though, Hawking was still very much attuned to the problems facing humanity here on Earth, so much so that his family performed a final act of goodwill in his name: A free Easter dinner for around 50 homeless people.

Hawking’s daughter Lucy called FoodCycle Cambridge, which operates three meal services every day for people in need. She told the organization that her family wanted to make a donation in honor of her father so that homeless people in the area could have a filling Easter meal in the company of others. Cards at every table read, “Today's lunch is a gift from Stephen...from the Hawking family."

“They wanted to do something to support people going through a tough time,” Alex Collis, who works with the charity, told the BBC.

FoodCycle prepares meals from perfectly good food that would otherwise go to waste, but Collis says that thanks to the Hawking family, they were able to buy “treats” like cookies and chocolates to go along with dinner. The donation even supported Easter decorations to give the space a more festive feeling.

On March 31, Hawking was buried at Westminster Abbey. A crowd gathered to witness his funeral procession and to say goodbye to a man who felt that humanity had an obligation to keep exploring the unknown. In fact, Hawking once said that although we occupy “a minor planet of a very average star,” our ability to “understand the universe…makes us something very special indeed.”

Hawking’s family must have felt that he would still want all people—especially those in the most need—to know that they too are special, and deserving of a lavish Easter feast.