As family and friends gather around their Christmas dinners this year, others will turn to charities such as Shekinah Mission and St Petrock’s, not just for help, but company, warmth and a hot meal.
Homelessness is rising in our streets and this Christmas many will sleep rough, out in the cold. Thankfully, organisations are on hand to offer warm food, supplies and advice, but not without the help of volunteers and kind donors who enable this to continue, not just at Christmas, but all year round. We take a look at some of these initiatives that work right on our doorsteps:
Plymouth Soup Run brings 27,000 warm meals and drinks to the homeless and vulnerable 7 days a week across 14 different venues in Plymouth. Working in partnership with Shekinah Mission, the charity also provides a kitchen on Sundays for those in need.
Organised and run completely by volunteers, Plymouth Soup Run is grateful for any support received throughout the year to enable them to provide a 365-day service.
This year, three of the Soup Kitchen’s volunteers will also sleep outside on Christmas Eve as an attempt to raise vital funds for the cause. You can find out more and donate here: https://www.shekinah.co.uk/appeal/plymouth-soup-kitchen
Shekinah Mission not only helps to run the Sunday Soup Kitchen, but also provides a whole host of other methods of support to Plymouth’s vulnerable people.
This year’s Christmas campaign sees the charity appealing for donations towards a special kind of Christmas meal, when those helped will receive help with housing, companionship, a health check and employability training as a direct result of donations made over the festive period.
Julian House is a foundation that provides services across the South West including 40 different projects, accommodation sites and social enterprises. Their services can be reached in Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge and provide much more than just food and shelter for the homeless.
Volunteers are encouraged to get involved with a variety of roles across the area, and those who are unable to give their time are welcomed to make a donation to help continue to fund the charity’s projects. https://www.justgiving.com/julianhouse/donate
The Surviving Winter Appeal is run by Community Foundations across the UK, with Devon’s scheme helping not just the homeless but also the ill and elderly who struggle in colder and wetter conditions.
The appeal simply asks for anyone who is in receipt of a Winter Fuel Payment and is willing and able to donate it to pass on the goodwill to the Foundation and those in need. https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/11129#/DonationDetails
Provide Devon works with organisations to ensure people who are in crisis have enough food to feed themselves and their families. This Christmas, the charity is urging people to get involved with their ‘reverse advent calendar’ appeal which sees supporters donating items of food to those in need via a variety of drop-off points across Plymouth.
St Petrock’s in Exeter has been helping homeless and vulnerable people for the last 25 years and continues its invaluable service today.
They are often the first port of call for those who find themselves in difficulty in Exeter and the surrounding areas and are able to help not just with shelter and housing but also rehabilitation and mental health.
Volunteers are the backbone of their charity and they welcome any donations of time, food, clothing, bedding or essential items.
See http://stpetrocks.org.uk/ for more information and to donate.