Portsmouth church which feeds the homeless will benefit from News Christmas voucher campaign
The church which holds weekly suppers for the homeless is set to receive a share of thousands of pounds in gift vouchers as part of The News Comfort and Joy Campaign.
St Simon’s Church is one of 11 charities benefiting from readers’ generosity when the campaign concludes at the end of this week.
The church, in Waverley Road, Southsea, hosts Sunday Suppers for individuals ‘on the edge of society’ every week and has done for 30 years.
Francesca Sherren, interim leader at St Simon’s Church, said: ‘We’re building a community of vulnerable people and those who may be on the edge of society. Often we help people recovering from addiction.
‘St Simon’s Church is a safe place. We provide suppers in the form of sandwiches, cakes, fruit, drinks and more.’
The congregation of 25 volunteers opens the doors of the church every Sunday from 5.30pm to 7pm. As well as providing a meal every week, the church also offers a small gift of simple store cupboard ingredients, a selection of clothes for those in need and also supply duvets and sleeping bags where possible.
‘We also offer advice or signpost people to support,’ adds Francesca, 54.
‘A lot of the people who come in regularly have got to know they team and know they can talk to us. One of the most important things is building a relationship with people.’
Francesca explains that Christmas can be a hard time of year for many who are living on the streets and are vulnerable or lonely.
She said: ‘At Christmas, the gift vouchers are split. Some go to our clients that come in and others go to funding the food. Last year, we used it to make a Christmas Dinner on the Sunday instead.
‘We are bringing hope and giving them the opportunity to meet others.
‘They know the Sunday Suppers are run by the church. I believe Jesus would be right here doing what we do, helping these people who were on the edge.’
THE COMFORT AND JOY CAMPAIGN
Tesco stores in Fratton, Cosham, Fareham and Crasswell Street, Portsmouth, have taken in The News Comfort and Joy Christmas campaign letterboxes so members of public can post their £5 vouchers.
The News Comfort and Joy Campaign, which launched at the end of November, works in partnership with Churches Homeless Action to provide gift vouchers for the city’s most vulnerable individuals at Christmas.
The campaign will benefit 11 local charities who support those who are homeless, recovering from addiction, victims of domestic abuse, seeking asylum and struggling families.
Those charities are:
- Catherine Booth House (The Salvation Army): Providing support for homeless families – (023) 9273 6544
- Friends Without Borders: Support for asylum seekers whilst their applications are processed – (023) 9283 9222
- Hope House (Two Saints): Provides night beds for rough sleepers – 01329 234600
- Portsmouth Churches Housing Association: Runs three hostels for the homeless young families and single women – (023) 9229 7877
- Portsmouth Foyer and All Saints Hostel (Two Saints): Supported accommodation for young people – (023) 9236 0001
- The Roberts Centre: Supports over 1000 families in the Portsmouth area – (023) 9229 6919
- Society of St James: Outreach work with homeless people not engaging with other services and a day centre – (023) 9286 1423
- Stop Domestic Abuse: Provides emergency respite for women and children – (023) 9248 0246
- St Simon’s Church: Provides Sunday suppers and support for homeless people – (023) 9282 9440
- Two Saints: For homeless people in Fareham, Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth – 01329 234600
- The LifeHouse: A drop-in for people whose lives are affected by homelessness and addiction, offering hot meals and clothing – 07713 198 045
To get involved, simply buy a Christmas card and write a message – but do not put your name or address.
Purchase a £5 supermarket gift card and put it into the card, but do not seal the envelope.
Then, place in a large envelope (seal this one) and place in a Tesco store post box or send to Deanery Office, St Faith's Church, Crasswell Street, Portsmouth, PO1 1HT to arrive before December 17.
The letterboxes will also be in stores until December 17 and then will be handed to the eleven charities at a carol service at St Mary’s Church, Fratton, on December 20.
To learn more about how a £5 Comfort and Joy donation could change a life, read case studies at portsmouth.co.uk.