During the festive season our televisions, social media and billboards are flooded with delicious images of Christmas food. The turkey and all the trimmings have become a staple of the British Christmas and for many of us the festive spread on Christmas day may be the highlight of our holidays. It’s difficult to imagine a successful Christmas without them, but the reality is very different for those who are living on the streets or on the poverty line.
People in these situations often live without the option of a hot meal any day of the week, let alone Christmas. In Portsmouth, homelessness is a rising issue, the number of people sleeping rough has been estimated to have trebled in the last five years. And these rising figures show no sign of slowing down.
“The Lifehouse team are always happy to receive donations of non-perishable food items.”
But in this time of crisis there are organisations providing help for the homeless and those at risk. The Lifehouse and Don’t Hate Donate are two Portsmouth based charities tackling the rising rates of homelessness and taking care of those already affected. They are currently looking for extra volunteers during this busy holiday period.
The Lifehouse team state on their website that they are a ‘resource, support centre and kitchen’ helping to support those most at risk in Portsmouth, tackling issues of homelessness and addiction. The team at The Lifehouse have expressed their interest in new volunteers joining them and helping to extend their opening hours, especially during the cold winter evenings. If you don’t have the time to donate, or are going back home for the Christmas break, The Lifehouse team are always happy to receive donations of non-perishable food items, such as sauces, jams and tinned food, as well as blankets and sleeping bags; these can be distributed by the team at The Lifehouse to help keep those affected by homelessness fed and warm this winter.
Don’t Hate Donate is a similar charity, often setting up their kitchen in the middle of Guildhall Square feeding anyone who needs it, whether homeless or just hungry, in an attempt to help to bring the Portsmouth community together while also helping those at risk. Their vision is to ‘unite communities for a better world’. As well as food they also provide essential aid and clothing to those affected by poverty, homelessness or fleeing war torn countries.
Both charities are easy to contact if you are interested in volunteering with them. Don’t Hate Donate is contactable through their Facebook page, where they update with opportunities to help to feed the local community and donate supplies. Lifehouse encourages volunteers to use their app ‘Street Support Portsmouth’ in order to find areas in Portsmouth where volunteers are needed to help distribute food and blankets during the Christmas period.
These charities, and others just like them around the country, are reliant on donations of time, food and money in order to keep their doors open during the busy holiday season. Whether staying in Portsmouth or going home, see if you can help those in need this Christmas. Remember that Christmas is the time of year for giving not just receiving. This year think about giving the gift of a hot meal on Christmas day.