This community support project, run by The News in partnership with Churches Homeless Action, HIVE Portsmouth, and Portsmouth City Council, aims to deliver some festive joy across the Portsmouth area this Christmas.
Kind-hearted people across the city have been donating vouchers to help local groups and organisations supporting those in need - but there is not much time left before the appeal deadline.
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To get involved with the Comfort and Joy voucher scheme, buy a Christmas card and write a message, without including your name and address, and purchase a gift voucher of £5 to put inside the card.
Do not seal the envelope, and place the Christmas card into one of the festive post boxes at Tesco Fareham and Tesco Fratton before the end of December 16.
Another way to support the Comfort and Joy appeal is to post a cheque payable to St Mary’s Church, or send cash to St Mary’s Vicarage, Fratton Road, Portsmouth, PO1 5PA by December 18 – or hand it in at St Mary’s Church any morning between 9am and noon.
A total of ten charities are being supported by the Comfort and Joy 2021 appeal: Two Saints Portsmouth, Stop Domestic Abuse, the Roberts Centre, Catherine Booth House, the Society of St James, Sunday Suppers, Portsmouth Churches Housing, Life House, Friends Without Borders, and Hope Into Action.
Representatives from these groups have been thanking those who have already donated to the Comfort and Joy appeal, and encouraging others to take part and spread a little festive happiness this Christmas.
Emma Adams, finance officer at Portsmouth Churches Housing, said: ‘The gesture of a £5 gift card can make a huge difference to someone who is currently experiencing difficulties, such as being homeless, waiting for benefits or simply having a very low income.
‘This gift card allows them the opportunity to either buy a luxury item or a gift for a loved one that they may have not been able to afford before.
‘For some that are alone at this time of year, it lets them know that someone out there is thinking of them, which can have a massive positive impact.’
Jeremy Brown, a trustee of Sunday Suppers, said: ‘Sunday Suppers provides a warm and friendly welcome and a hot meal to anyone who needs it, or just wants a chat, along with a good coffee.
‘Sometimes we do haircuts and sometimes we get pizza delivered by Dominos.
‘We look to build longer term relationships and involve our guests in helping to deliver Sunday Suppers.
‘All of our staff are unpaid volunteers. We try to provide some very high quality food that will help make a genuine difference.
‘At this time of year we recognise that many people have few choices.
‘Comfort and Joy gives people a little freedom of choice.
‘We are a charity and rely on financial support from many people; our guests are very, very grateful for the generosity of the people of Portsmouth that makes so much difference.’