On our way to school, we passed a homeless man sitting on a bench on the High Street, rubbing his hands together against the cold, covered in a blanket that seemed to be falling apart. ‘Doesn’t he have a home?’ Lil’ L asked as we walked on. ‘There are holes in his blankie,’ she said sadly.
We started talking about people who have nothing, no roof above their heads, let alone money for food, heating, gadgets or toys. And the more we talked, the more I felt ashamed. Because my girls have more clothes than they can wear, more toys than they can play with, and more food to choose from than is possibly good for them. And the same counts for myself. We are surrounded by stuff – stuff we throw away or give to charity shops when it all becomes too much and we feel suffocated by the witnesses of our greed.
Yet there are people close by who have absolutely nothing.
How many people could I have helped with the monetary equivalent of my gingerbread latte addiction? Do I really need another grey cardigan? How many pairs of shoes can I wear at once?
Christmas is a time for sharing – not only with the ones who are near and dear to us, but especially with the ones who are less well off.
This year I am going to support Crisis at Christmas. Crisis is a homeless charity that provides help and support during Christmas and throughout the year. You can reserve a space for one person at Crisis at Christmas for £21.84. This is all it takes to provide one person with three nutritious, hot meals (including Christmas dinner), the chance to shower and change clothes, have a haircut and get a health check. The person will also get expert advice on life-changing issues like housing and employment and an introduction to Crisis year-round services for training and support for the future.
I know that £21.84 is a lot of money for a lot of people – but it’s also so little if it can save a life.