Young volunteers from across Manchester and Blackburn left the comfort of their warm and cosy homes on 23 December, to distribute food and chat to the rough sleepers in Manchester.
The Islamic Relief volunteers gave mince pies and hot drinks to, and stopped for a chat with, around 50 homeless people in the city.
The group of 16 volunteers also delivered sandwiches, crisps, hot rice, homemade biscuits and water (as well as 12 sleeping bags) on behalf of Islamic Relief UK. Islamic Relief is an international development charity working to tackle poverty in the UK and overseas.
Many of the food and drink items were generously donated by the local community or paid for by local businesses from Blackburn such as Mighty Fresh (who provided sandwiches) and Tesco (who provided mince pies).
Islamic Relief’s Community fundraiser, Jamal Afzal, said: “Our volunteers have really taken the initiative this year and are determined to make a difference to the city’s homeless. And, it’s not just about handing out food and drinks, but about making time for a proper chat and having a real conversation with people who are likely to experience loneliness over the Christmas period.”
Hamzah Adam, an IT technician from Blackburn and member of Islamic Relief’s RespondIR initiative – a dedicated volunteer programme that provides emergency response in crisis affected areas in the UK – was responsible for organising the local initiative in central Manchester.
Hamzah said: “At this time of year most people take time off work and spend the days celebrating with loved ones, yet there are hundreds of homeless people on the streets of Manchester who do not have safe place or a loved one to share this precious time with
“As RespondIR volunteers, we wanted to do something to show our solidarity and support for people who are living in crisis in the UK. By reaching out to people on the streets, we hope to be a friend, share a smile, have a chat over a coffee, but most importantly express our love for them in whatever way we can.”
Islamic Relief’s winter campaign is also supporting refugees, displaced and vulnerable people around the world who are facing the prospect of having to survive winter without adequate shelter, food or clothing.
Photo Credit: Islamic Relief