On Saturday 20 December, St George’s Hub in Birmingham will open its doors to around 200 homeless guests for a free Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.
The St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) based at the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Redditch supported by parishioners from both St Anne’s and St Catherine’s in Birmingham will serve dinner to the many men and women finding themselves alone and or homeless this Christmas. Working in partnership with another Christian Church from South Birmingham more than 40 volunteers are looking forward to making this a day to remember for all involved. As well as Christmas dinner, everyone will receive a present and be treated to a Gospel Choir singing carols and Christmas music. There will also be party games and a clothes/footwear stall.
O2 have kindly donated a mobile phone for 24 hours to enable guests to call home and wish their friends and family a Happy Christmas wherever they are in the world.
In the months leading up to Saturday’s event, the SVP has been knocking on the doors of local businesses and Catholic schools to help finance the day. Thanks to the generosity of many people, the money was easily raised – a number of Catholic Schools donated their Advent nativity collections to the event. The first school to pledge support of five hundred pounds was ‘Holy Souls Primary’ in Birmingham.
The headteacher Mr Kevin Kelly said:
“Steve visited the school to talk to the children about SVP’s work with the homeless in Birmingham city centre. Our childrens’ response was to take part in Nativity performances with great enthusiasm to proclaim the great joy of Jesus’ birth.”
Two parish schools also supported this event – St Bede’s middle school wrapped nearly 200 presents, put together by a young lady who had witnessed the work of an SVP soup kitchen in Birmingham. She was so moved by what she saw that she set up a facebook campaign and with the support of a network of friends working from home and others belonging to a social club in Acocks Green, this generous team of helpers bought and packed present bags for Saturday’s guests.
St Augustine’s high school donated £1150 from a sponsored walk. Both schools are committed supporters of the work of the SVP.
Monsignor Pat Browne, parish priest at St. Anne’s, Digbeth, Birmingham and a soup kitchen helper said:
“It’s great to see so many people involved in helping with this Christmas project. Over the last year or so many people have been helping with soup kitchens and outreach in the city centre which has helped to build up contacts with homeless and people living alone. The Christmas meal brings these people and many others from the local communities together to benefit from the goodness and wonderful spirit of people, organisation and businesses. “
St George’s Hub
Great Hampton Row