This week was our Christmas party. The organisation that goes on behind the scenes is huge but the end result was wonderful.
We fed 58 people throughout the night. The meal started with a Festive and warming butternut soup with a hint of chilli followed by a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. The chicken came from Vickers Butchers kindly donated for the third year running. This was accompanied by roast and mash potato, red cabbage, bread sauce, stuffing, pigs in blankets and vegetables and the equivalent in a Vegan and Vegetarian option. Dessert was Christmas Pudding or sticky toffee pudding with custard kindly donated by John Lewis, and mince pies donated by Tesco Metro. This year as before the meal has been a collaboration of many supermarkets and local companies donating and hard work from our trained Food Hygiene level 2 volunteers.
We catered for approximately 60 people with the ability for people to have seconds. It went down very, very well indeed.
We opened twenty minutes early this week, as the rain was so bad. Even through the weather was against us people came. We had to find dry clothes for some as they were soaked through but everyone was in high spirits.
Santa arrived half way through the evening and gave out a bag to every person. The bags had been hand stencilled by Mai-Britt, 60 in all. It was a huge job as she organised and filled all the bags up with donated gifts and treats. John Lewis came in and helped fill the bags with more goodies, it was incredible.
Also for the third year running NUTS Newbury Ukulele Town Strummers came in to play. The atmosphere was wonderful. There was lots of singing, dancing and laughter all evening. They are already booked in for next year and we have written to Santa to come along too if he is not too busy.
We have been so touched by the kindness of local businesses and the community who gave so much and were so kind. This time of year it is extremely hard work managing all the donations. We have to find space for everything, as the amount we have received is incredible. Food donations will last us for the next few months so we are thank you for that. Therefore we are requesting that no more donations are offered for now. This does not mean we are not extremely grateful, we are but we would like to request that companies and you remember us the rest of the year. Our work continues every week throughout the year and demands on our resources continuous.
It is impossible to remember everyone who is vulnerable, lonely, homeless or struggling in any way. Small acts of kindness go a long way and can take little effort but make a huge difference. That act of kindness could be enough to make someone feel worth something not worthless. Loved not ignored, a part of community or family and not alone.
Pop over to see a neighbour or friend who needs a little boost of friendship this Christmas.
This is what we do and it is wonderful and humbling to see people we care deeply for move forward and become happier and more settled. These words are from two people we have helped and continue to support.
“Newbury Soup Kitchen got me from ‘street’ to ‘home sweet home’.Their tireless work and undying passion gave me a reason to live again.The volunteers all had belief in me and gave me so much encouragement . . .
I would not be here now if it wasn’t for Meryl’s Angels.”
“A huge THANK YOU. To Meryl, Mai Britt, Scott and all the amazing volunteers. After 6 yrs of being “homeless” I have the perfect little home…. You guys have been amazing with all your support, encouragement and “Love” and I can’t forget all the hot dinners , sandwiches and home made crumbles. I honestly don’t think without you guys I wouldn’t of lasted much longer out there in the cold… I am eternally grateful. So I encourage all you lovely generous people out there keep on supporting this project because without that people like me wouldn’t be able to have a purpose in life … So thank you and “Merry Christmas” And remember, “a homeless person isn’t just for Christmas.”