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Help homeless people help themselves AND others

July 15, 2009

Most of the paper that gets shoved through my letterbox ends up in the recycling bin. That’s because it largely consists of takeaway menus, snide local party political newsletters or flyers from estate agents or companies offering to buy your house and let you live in it for a rip-off rent. I will not be distracted into a rant about the ecological cost of this pointless junk mail *mutters to self: will not be distracted, will not be distracted…gah!* BECAUSE something interesting also slid on to the door mat last week.

The something interesting is a flyer from Emmaus, a homeless charity that does more than get people off the streets. Emmaus has 19 Communities up and running in the UK. Within each Community (their capitals – not mine), homeless people support each other and work – recycling furniture and unwanted goods.

How Emmaus works is by establishing a Community and taking in a new Companion who sets to work repairing things and helping the Community prosper. They then sell the recycled furniture and other goods. The Companion will leave with renewed confidence, plus a little saved money, to help start a new life and the recycled goods generate new income for the Community and to help others.

There are all sorts of way you can support Emmaus (pronounced E-May-us) and only one of these is giving money. You can also donate household items  (or buy them from Emmaus shops or eBay), you can volunteer your time, use prepared resources packs to inform students (aimed at KS4 and KS3) about the issues surrounding homelessness, or you could get involved with fundraising.

It’s not just helping homeless people (as if that weren’t a bloody good thing in itself), it’s environmentally sound too. So, come on – spread the word and see if you can’t help Emmaus out a little too.

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