Two good causes for a caring, sharing Christmas - Karen Koren

Once you have bought your tree from Bethany Trust, how about a Sleep in the Park?

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 7:00 am

THE Christmas season is now upon us, though it has come far too quickly for my liking! Surely Christmas trees shouldn’t go up before December – in our house, we’re not picking up our tree until the 14th.

Every year I buy a Caring Christmas Tree, a programme striving to end homelessness in Scotland. Bethany Christian Trust sells ­thousands of Caring Christmas Trees in November and December to both residents and businesses across Edinburgh, the Lothians, Glasgow and Fife.

Caring Christmas Trees is a unique social enterprise that has been running for 16 years and has successfully raised thousands towards Bethany’s Care Shelter and other winter projects for the homeless.

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Bethany’s Winter Care Shelter provides a hot meal and a safe place to sleep for those with nowhere to go during the coldest months of the year. Talking of homelessness, Sleep in the Park is happening again this year in Princes Street Gardens on 7 December.

The big difference from other years is that it has now become a huge, global event and will be taking place in 60 cities worldwide including London, New York, Los ­Angeles, Madrid, Chicago, Hong Kong, Manila, Dublin, Belfast, Manchester, Cardiff, Brisbane, San Jose and, of course, Edinburgh, where it all began a few years ago.

Join Will Smith, Dame Helen ­Mirren and some of the world’s ­biggest musicians who will ­entertain. They expect more than 50,000 people throughout the world to sleep under the stars to help those who have no other choice. The aim is to raise life-saving funds to help a ­million homeless and displaced people all over the world.

Both causes are extremely ­worthwhile and we should all do something to help those less ­fortunate than ourselves over the winter months. As Ellen deGeneres says, “Be kind to one another”, ­especially during a time of giving and good will to all.

If you know someone who is lonely, pop in and visit or give them a call. It is this time of year that we need to think of others.

Go and see our comedy show at the Gilded Balloon Basement – New S*** on Thursdays, which features old pros with good ideas and new acts that take the plunge for the first time, absolutely free.

Fred MacAulay’s ‘in conversation’ chat show is on 8 December and has the wonderful critic Kate Copstick as his guest. Kate goes to Kenya twice a year where she supports an African charity, Mama Biashara, where she helps women support themselves by starting small self-sustaining businesses.

She is selfless in the extreme and we should be led by her example, now especially, when more and more people are displaced and need our help.