‘DIG deep and do whatever you can to help a homeless person this Christmas’.
That’s the rallying cry from the area’s MPs as they call on kindhearted residents to back The News’ Christmas campaign.
Scores of people have already thrown their support behind the Show Them You Care This Christmas drive since it was launched last week.
Children, families and companies have been doing their bit to donate to the area’s needy charities and good causes, as well as offering their time to volunteer with groups helping those living on the streets.
Suella Fernandes, Fareham MP, is now urging others to do what they can to help hundreds of the area’s most vulnerable residents who face waking up homeless this Christmas.
She said: ‘It is an especially tough time of year for the homeless. Cold, wet and lonely – it is unacceptable to have even one person living on the streets.
‘I would urge people to help in any way they can, by donating food, clothing or money. For those who do end up homeless we need to reach out and ensure they are supported to get back on their feet – this great campaign is one way people can help.’
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond added: ‘From my experience volunteering at the food bank, I know that giving some money or food for the homeless, particularly at Christmas, can make a big difference.’
Fareham-based recruitment firm GC Search and Select is the latest to get behind the campaign.
Workers have created a variety of shoe boxes full of essential supplies to give to homeless people this winter.
The boxes, containing everything from warm shoes and clothing to toiletries, chocolates and sachets of hot drinks, are being donated to the Society of St James, which supports 3,000 homeless people across the county.
Darren Fagan, GC’s director of operations, is now calling on readers to follow suit, and said: ‘We are just so glad that we can offer a little comfort to people who are facing a really hard time at Christmas.
‘I personally hope that this small gesture helps them feel like a welcome and important part of society, perhaps it will help give them the courage to keep going.’
Elsewhere, residents continue to leave bags of warm clothes, toiletries and tinned food at The News’ headquarters at 1000 Lakeside, in North Harbour.
And banking giant TSB in Portsmouth has got behind this year’s effort, donating £125 to The LifeHouse, which runs a homeless drop-in and soup kitchen in Albert Road, Southsea.