The Hope Centre elves, me included, are all working hard for Christmas, helping prepare the rotas for cover over the holidays, wrapping presents, organising the food for Christmas dinner, and taking delivery of the scary amount of donations we receive at this time of year. Compassion is a wonderful Christmas tradition that is not yet dead even in the age of austerity we are all experiencing.
As I said at Harvest, it’s humbling to see the generosity of local people devoted towards people less well off than they are. The volume of donations makes us all feel that ordinary people, both rich but also often poor themselves, make that extra effort to give, and give with care and compassion towards the people we see, even though they may have little themselves.
Hope does not just work with street homeless people and rough sleepers; we work with people with all kind of housing and other challenges in their lives – mental ill-health, poverty generally, food poverty, skills and learning poverty, isolation, lack of social skills, addictions ….. it goes on. For all of them, using the gifts you give, we work tirelessly to make their lives better, over Christmas, and every day.
But we could not do it without your support: your time, your gifts, your money. Please carry on giving, to our Christmas appeal, and to join the sleep-out in January. Read carefully what we say we need on the facebook pages and website, to make sure your gifts are what we really need – let us guide you, if you would, so that not everybody gives a woolly hat and a selection box! Have a look at what we ask for so that we can fill up the gaps, amidst the terrific amount we have already received.
So thank you, keep it coming. See you perhaps as a volunteer after Christmas. We need the giving to continue, throughout Christmas, into the cold New Year. We know you will help. You always do. To choose a quotation for why, I hope, we all get involved in this work, here are the words of One, by U2, which are one of my inspirations:

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we’re not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other
One life…