Emmaus founder, Abbé Pierre, encouraged everyone to ‘serve first those most in need’ and we continue to try and live by this, ensuring that surpluses are used to support people worse off than us.
There are various ways in which we do this.
- We regularly make grants to other organisations not only within the Emmaus movement but also outside it based on their need. The funds may come from our general income but quite often we will hold a special sale for a specific purpose.
- We make use of containers and these have been particularly welcomed by our Emmaus colleagues in Poland where they can struggle to find solid furniture and other items good enough to sell. Items which may not be so popular here are welcomed there and, by sending goods instead of a lump sum we are giving them the opportunity to earn their money. We estimate that a metric tonne of goods will earn the recipient community in the region of £1,000, so a shipping cost to us of about £1,500 can be turned into a possible income of between £6,000 and £10,000.
Some of our companions have taken part in Emmaus work-camps, including ones in Benin, and we are now exploring the possibility of sending containers there too.
- We sell second-hand goods but not everyone is able to afford to buy even second-hand so we will support people on certain basic benefits, or who are referred to us, by reducing the prices of our items even further. We also work closely with other organisations looking to support vulnerable and marginalised people by providing items and helping people who may never have done so before to furnish a home.