Thursday 30 November 2017

If there was ever a time to think of homeless people, it’s Christmas

Christmas 2017

Christmas can be desperately lonely when you’re cut off from the rest of the world, and especially from the family and friends that you love.

Sadly, this will be the reality for thousands of homeless men and women this Christmas. 

They won’t be enjoying the comforts of home or the conviviality that comes from gathering our loved ones around us. Instead their sense of isolation and loneliness will be felt even more keenly since they won’t be part of anyone’s festivities. They will be outsiders; people that society has overlooked.   

If you are able to send a Christmas gift today, Emmaus will do all it can to welcome more homeless people, like Tom, into a community. There they will find comfort, companionship… and hope. 

IMG 1946Tom became homeless after he lost his job when he was in his early fifties and very quickly his life began to unravel. He became very depressed and this put his marriage under terrible strain. When he and his wife agreed to end their relationship, Tom left the family home because he couldn’t meet the mortgage payments himself.

At first, he used his savings to pay for B&Bs while he looked for work and a place to live. But the money soon ran out. Just two months after moving out of his home he was sleeping rough – first in the town where he’d been living and then in London, where he thought there might be more help for people in his situation.

Already feeling terribly lonely and isolated, Tom reached his lowest point when he was forced to spend Christmas sleeping rough. He had nothing to do but walk for miles around London’s back streets - and seeing the Christmas lights and decorations inside people’s houses was a painful reminder of the life he no longer had.

There was no one about. I couldn't sleep on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day. It wasn't until people were back at work that I felt part of the world again."

Thankfully Tom now has a home at Emmaus Cambridge for as long as he needs it. He’s so glad to be working again and it has done wonders for his confidence and self-esteem.

Of course, Christmas will never be quite the same as it was when Tom spent it in his own home with his wife and daughter. Yet he describes Christmas in an Emmaus community as ‘brilliant’ because he knows he is among friends. Tom feels he belongs.

This Christmas, he has volunteered to help cook turkey and all the trimmings for fellow companions, volunteers and staff in his community. And Tom’s especially determined that new companions who arrive over the Christmas period will receive as warm a welcome as he did when he first came to Emmaus.

Kind gifts from supporters like you helped to get Tom off the streets and they are enabling him to build a new life for himself. Could you send a gift today so Emmaus can help other men and women to do the same? Please show homeless people that they are not forgotten this Christmas. 

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