Crisis volunteers ready to dish up 400 lunches and care packs to homeless people on Christmas day

Over two hundred volunteers for Crisis will be serving up hot lunches Deliveroo style on Christmas day to homeless people in hotels and B&Bs.
Edinburgh volunteers getting wellbeing packs ready for homeless peopleEdinburgh volunteers getting wellbeing packs ready for homeless people
Edinburgh volunteers getting wellbeing packs ready for homeless people

The charity’s Edinburgh team will take hot lunches and either breakfast or supper to homeless people and their kids on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, along with activity and care packs.

Trained volunteer befrienders will also be doing calls to check on people over the festive period.

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Hot Christmas Day lunch of Turkey with all the trimmings and steak pie on boxing day will be served, all made by volunteers who are professional chefs from a firm of high-end caterers.

Care packs will also be given out with items for activity sessions on zoom like juggling balls, cake decorating kits, arts, crafts, cardmaking as well as toiletries, phone chargers, toys and clothes for kids.

Volunteer Hazel Heron, a furloughed hotel worker, has talked to members to arrange their meals and befriending calls. The 23-year-old said: “Doing this has showed me the power of conversation for people who are homeless, or at risk of losing their home.

"Some have lost their jobs as a result of covid-19 so the charity has helped them find a place to stay, mostly hotels or B&B. I talked to one man who was sleeping in his car. Many people are on their own.

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"It’s heartbreaking, sometimes I just want to rush out to people there and then to give them food. It’s a comfort to people to know that they will at least get a hot meal and have someone to talk to on Christmas day.”

Fiona* came to Edinburgh to live with a relative after she lost her job at the height of the pandemic but the relationship broke down. After three months in a rat-infested B&B the 60-year-old became suicidal.

She said: “There was a lot of drugs and staff seemed always too busy to help. I’d asked for a bucket to wash clothes in but never got one. The food wasn’t good, some was out of date.

"The room was freezing. I’d wake up and find rodents had contaminated my stuff with droppings. Crisis have really helped me. I’m now in a hotel room. I feel safe. I’ve stopped feeling so down.”

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“I’m so grateful for simple things they got me like pyjamas. I also got a tablet so I can do English classes on zoom. I won’t be able to share Christmas with anyone in person, but I’m a lot happier where I am now.”

Grant Campbell, Director of Skylight Edinburgh, said: “Christmas is a desperately difficult time of year for anyone without a home, whether they are sleeping rough, sofa surfing or staying in temporary accommodation like a hostel or B&B. That’s why every year in Edinburgh we provide food, guidance and support to people when they need it most.

" While the pandemic has meant we cannot bring people together like we usually do, our front-line staff, supporters and 250 volunteers have stepped up to bring comfort, support and companionship to people across the city.

“We are making sure people do not feel forgotten. We hope that by helping them through this incredibly difficult period, we can begin to support them out of homelessness for good.”

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