This year we hosted a Christmas Eve party for our Beneficiaries
A blog post by our founder
Today we held our first ever Christmas Eve party for our Beneficiaries
Christmas can be a hard time for many, those of us that are Homeless find it particularly difficult.
With street homelessness on the rise in general across the UK, the winter period is a stark reminder that we still have a long way to go in repairing the social wound that is poverty and Homelessness. not only is the weather bleak, the wind harsh and the ground more often that not wet. We see more and more people on the streets and in shelters than in a long time in our history.
There is no doubt about it, winter and more specifically Christmas is any Homeless charities busiest time of the year! The up take in people wanting to offer donations and volunteer hours is incredible to say the least, it seems the guilt of enjoying a warm, cosy festive period surrounded by our loved ones is playing more and more peoples minds. This is wonderful of course, but unfortunately seasonal Homelessness does not exist, it is not a part time issue.
Aside from guilt and embracing the season of giving, one major factor in a happy Christmas is company. Christmas is a time when those that live with loss recount their pasts, remember and miss loved ones passed and opportunities missed. Wondering what went wrong and how different life would be with those people around. Whilst we cannot replace those missed loved ones, we cannot heal emotional wounds and gift wrap a new life in pretty paper for all those that suffer, we can share our time with them.
We can share a meal and conversation, share dreams and hopes for the future, we can show solidarity and display humility in the face of the ever increasing fragility of our shared human, social existence. We can raise a glass to friends past and present, pull a cracker and tell silly jokes, exchange small meaningful gifts and remember the joy of ‘the gift of giving’ rather than the indignant self accomplishment of giving an expensive materialist gift.
So that is what we did, and we loved it, each and everyone of us. We ate wonderful hearty food, we pulled crackers and shared jokes, we told stories, some wild and some sad. We danced, we laughed, we shared odd conversations about bizarre and wonderful subjects. But more than all that, for a few fleeting hours, we all shared a happy, safe, beautiful day, we forgot our worries and woes, we felt safe, we were loved.
Lots of dancing, singing and laughing with the staff and residents of Humbercare Ltd and Emmaus Hull & East Riding celebrating the true meaning of Christmas was enough to bring a tear to more than one eye that day, as bemused wait staff began to understand this truly diverse mixture of people and what this small gesture meant, I think more than one person finally figured the true meaning of Christmas that day.
When I first dared to dream I could make this charity a success I never imagined such profound moments were just around the corner, that inspiring people to love without bias or condition could actually work, I never imagined the stirring feeling I had in my heart that day was even humanly possible. That one day, is a day I will never forget as long as I live.
My festive, emotionally discombobulating, gleeful trance continued into Christmas day with lunch at Emmaus (mostly trifle for me) and the afternoon with the staff and residents of Dock House. All the while desperately [and silently] hoping the festive fun and family feelings didn’t dissipate too soon for everyone. People were happy and distracted, yes still with thoughts of darker days and regrets no doubt, but those thoughts, for the moment at least, were dozing in an arm chair in the dimly lit snug at the back of peoples minds, taking a rest for now, allowing some pleasure and contentment for this truly special Christmas time.
Thank you and merry Christmas to The Goodfellowship for providing the room and all the food for free, Acklams Coaches for providing the transport there and back, to Sugar ‘n’ Spice Cakes Ltd for the beautiful cakes, to Claire, Karen and Angie from Tesco St Stephen’s for the selection boxes, and to all of you that put together reverse advent boxes and gift boxes
Founder & CEO
A Shiver Is All
– A poem by Jacob Folger