- December 2017
The gift of giving
Christmas is such a magical time of the year when we celebrate with loved ones and enjoy the festivities. For some people, though this is simply an unobtainable dream and their reality of what the holiday time is all about is very different, as their home is on the street.
This year we chose to help support the efforts of one of our previous colleagues Ty and his plight with a charity called Mission 25:25, run by volunteers of The Bridge Church in Neath. Each weekend they hit the streets with one aim; to support the homeless and vulnerable people throughout their community handing out food, clothing and offering them an opportunity to find the vital help they need to get off the streets and back into society.
For anyone living on the streets, this time of year can be treacherous, as it’s not just the cold and wet weather of the British winter that poses a risk of hypothermia, but it’s also a fairly lonely and dangerous place to be. It’s dark most of the time and with more Christmas party goers out and about, there’s a greater risk of being assaulted or injured by drunken revellers.
What’s in the box?
To help Ty and Mission 25:35 with their Christmas giving campaign, first, we had to locate a large number of shoe boxes. Where else would we go but to Clarkes? Our local Clarkes outlet was able to provide us with over 30 shoe boxes ready to be filled and wrapped.
The items that these people so desperately need at this time of year are hats, gloves, scarfs, non-perishable food like noodles, crisps and snack bars. They also need deodorant, shampoo and other similar sundries. So we packed our boxes with as many items as we could fit and wrapped them ready for Christmas.
Why is homelessness a problem?
It’s really scary just how easy it is to end up in this type of predicament. For some people it can involve substance misuse and addiction, for others it could simply be a catalyst of unfortunate events. Even something as straightforward as their car breaking down might then lead to an individual losing their job if they were unable to get to work every day, which could lead to relationship difficulties and potentially to them losing their house.
Just this week WalesOnline have reported that there are an estimated 750 families, including 1,300 children that will be homeless and living in temporary accommodation throughout Wales over the Christmas period.
Though it’s worth keeping in mind that the issue if homelessness runs much deeper than what we see on our streets. We need to remember the hidden homeless. People that are homeless, with no fixed abode, that literally move from home to home ‘sofa surfing’, taking up offers of somewhere warm to stay with friends or relatives. These people still need support to be integrated back into society and may also have similar challenges to people on the street, for example, unable to get employment.
How can people help?
Ty and all the volunteers at Mission 25:35 would welcome anyone that would like to get involved. You can find out more information on their Facebook page. But just liking and sharing their posts will help them with their exposure.
We will be taking our Christmas gifts down to the charity in the coming days, and we hope that we are able to bring a little bit of Christmas cheer to the streets of Neath.