Sunday, 22 December 2013

Helping the homeless this festive season

When I was a child, I would watch Santa Claus every Christmas Eve (the one with Dudley Moore as Patch the elf), and every year the plight of young homeless orphan Joe would tug at my heart strings and I'd wish I was old enough to do something to help people like him at Christmas.  As Katie mentioned in her post the other day, A Christmas Carol explores a similar theme, with just a little kindness from Ebenezer Scrooge saving Tiny Tim's life and making Christmas happier for everyone.  No matter how we feel about Christmas - good or bad - at least we've all got ENOUGH.  Enough presents, enough food, people around us, or at least a telly to while away the hours.  I think sometimes we get so caught up in all the consumer mayhem that we forget how much we DO have!

Well, now I'm (technically) a grown-up, and although there's a limited amount a non-driving woman in a rural village can do to save the world on Christmas Day, one thing I CAN do is help pave the way for the people out there who ARE in a position to make Christmas a safer and happier one for some of the most disadvantaged people in our society.

I've discovered that each year Crisis runs a scheme whereby people can donate to 'Reserve a Place' for a homeless person at one of their centres for Christmas.  What I really like about this is that it's quite specific about what this 'reservation' entails.  As well as the basics - three hot meals (including Christmas dinner) and a hot shower - it also includes a health check (which is definitely important for someone who's been out on the streets in this awful weather), advice and support, activities, company, and a chance to get some clean clothes and a haircut.  Which might not sound like much, until you consider how much better YOU feel when you're all squeaky clean and tidied up after a long day.  Now imagine that feeling, multiplied by days, weeks or months of living on the street...  Yeah, that's what I thought.  :)

Anyway, I caught myself eyeing up a box set I wanted online the other day, and was literally on the verge of dropping £40 just to have it before Christmas.  Happily I managed to control myself, which is perfect because reserving a place for one person at Crisis costs just over £20.  I'm going to reserve places for TWO people, using the money I would have spent on yet more DVDs to give someone a happier, safer and warmer Christmas this year - plus the chance to access some of the support and advice that might help them long-term too.  No one should be huddling outside, cold, hungry and alone on Christmas Day.

If you'd like to join me, you can click HERE for all the details and to reserve a place for someone right now!