With 78 percent of young homeless people unable to afford a balanced meal this Winter, North East businesses have partnered with Oasis Community Housing to provide Christmas dinner for homeless drop-ins in Gateshead and Sunderland.
Increasing numbers of people
This past year, Oasis Community Housing’s drop-ins have helped men and women who are rough sleeping more than 4,600 times. With high costs of living already given as one of the main reasons that people cannot afford food, the charity fears things will only get worse as we head into Winter.
Carolyn Wood, Oasis Community Housing’s Director of Programmes, explains: “This year, we’ve seen increasing numbers of people coming through our doors for help. Tough economic times are pushing people to the brink and, for those already sleeping on the streets, our teams have been particularly concerned.
“People who come to our drop ins often refer to us as ‘family’ and coming together to share love and laughter – as well as opening doors to those in need – it’s what Christmas is all about. So, we’re hoping these festive few hours at our drop in, in addition to our usual services, will help spread Christmas cheer and create some special memories.”
A winning formula
Micky Horswill, who played on Sunderland A.F.C.’s winning side in the 1973 FA Cup, attended as a special guest at the Sunderland drop-in Christmas Dinner, after the Sunderland Former Players Association provided all of the turkeys and trimmings.
Generous support from Newcastle law firm Muckle LLP, Sunderland-based lawyers Richard Reed Solicitors, Gentoo Group, Simpson Group and Durham Foods, helped Oasis Community Housing lay on two-course Christmas dinner for its homeless drop-ins. The 60 guests, mostly rough sleepers or those in housing crisis, also received wrapped gifts including Greggs food vouchers and selection boxes.
Oasis Community Housing will be trying to give individuals and families in its supported housing projects, based across North East England and South London, Christmases to remember as well; with gifts and Christmas hampers, many kindly provided by the charity’s supporters, Cash for Kids and Feeding Families, and delivered by the team from Handelsbanken Gateshead Branch.