It’s the time of year when the heating gets cranked up, friends and family come over for mulled wine and mince pies and beautiful presents glisten under the Christmas tree. Like anybody, Christmas is undoubtedly an expensive time for us; our five year old Millie wants the latest gadgets that her school friends have and our eight month old son Gabriele grows out of clothes faster than you can blink, let alone the daily cost of nappies, milk and baby trinkets. We’re not rich, we’re not poor, we’re just an average working family.
But when I come bumbling home with bags of food and presents, my hands and face cold from the wind, and the warmth of indoors hits me as I snuggle with the children on the sofa watching Christmas films, I can’t help but feel compassion for those who have nowhere to go and are forced to sleep homeless.
I took a trip to my local Aldi store where we always do the food shop and this time as well as getting the usual weekly items I set aside £25.00 to buy some food for the homeless. I telephoned the AHAG beforehand to volunteer to help in a soup kitchen over Christmas but the staff advised that due to checks and legislation it would be more helpful to bring in a food parcel instead. And surprisingly they informed me that it wasn’t the stereotypical soup that was just needed, but rare and much appreciated treats, a chocolate biscuit, a cheese-twist and a mince pie, so that’s what I got, along with some other items.
And for the same cost as two tubs of baby milk, we were able to buy all of this food, treats and a thermal wooly hat. We dropped it off at the hall next to the Holy Trinity church in town and were greeted by the kind staff. I know that life is never straightforward, it can be full of twists and turns, highs and lows and good times and bad, and should I ever find myself in a position where I have nowhere to live and no family to turn to, I would be glad of a roof over my head at night and a warm meal.
The homeless are kind people, they never asked to be dealt the hand that they’ve been given, and they are all children to somebody. It would break my heart if my babies were forced to sleep outside in the cold, so at this time of year I’m sure we can all find a handful of spare change or a goodwill gesture set aside to make the difference to people who have nothing. You can be the one to make that difference and help others, and it’s this time of year in particular when you realise what Christmas is really about.