Glasgow is a generous and caring city, never more so than at this time of year. A survey published earlier this month has found that 68 per cent of people don’t know what to do when they see someone who is homeless.
So we have compiled a handy list of what does and doesn’t help.
Who we help
Most of our guests are male and aged under 50. The majority have some form of accommodation – whether it’s a hostel, a friend’s sofa or a temporary flat. Many find this time of year particularly tough, as they are isolated from their families – so the thing that makes the biggest difference is a sense of community and of belonging.
Some may be sleeping rough – particularly those we meet on street outreach. We encourage them to use the Glasgow Winter Night Shelter. And from here they can be helped to access appropriate accommodation.
Here are our top six ways you can make a real difference to people who are homeless this Christmas.
How you can help
1. Help us give the best Christmas dinner in Glasgow
For those who don’t have families to celebrate with, the Christmas dinner we provide can be their only Christmas celebration.
For just £7 you can provide a delicious 3-course Christmas dinner with all the trimmings – sprouts included!
Not only is it a delicious dinner – it’s a chance for our guests to have fun and feel part of our mission family. And as we share food together we can help connect our guests to our year-round work which can help them improve their situations and move forwards with their lives.
2. Take the time to talk
Adam, who features in our Christmas Appeal, used to be street homeless. He says, “When you’re on the streets, you start to grudge other people their happiness.”
As you walk down the street, make eye contact and say hello to people who are begging or sleeping rough. It might not seem like much, but it can make a big difference to someone who has been ignored all day.
3. Apply to become a regular volunteer
We have an army of amazing volunteers who regularly give up their time throughout the year to make a difference in the lives of our guests. Our work centres around relationships, and our regular volunteers are able to get to know our guests and build relationships with them.
There’s a process for all potential volunteers to go through, which includes filling out an application form, an informal interview and taking up references. All of this means we can’t accept one-off volunteers over Christmas.
4. Pray for men and women affected by homelessness and poverty
Prayer makes all the difference. Please be praying for our guests over the Christmas holidays. Maybe you could pray every time you open your advent calendar or as you decorate your tree. We really appreciate prayer, and regularly update our website with our latest prayer news.
5. Buy an alternative gift
Looking for the perfect Christmas present? Make a real difference by buying an alternative gift from Glasgow City Mission.
6. Give as you live
Raise money to provide practical care for people experiencing homelessness and poverty when you’re shopping online at no extra cost to yourself. Visit Give As You Live to get started.
What we’re unable to accept
Hats: We’re very grateful for people’s generosity and already have all of the hats which we will need for this winter.
Clothes: We have very limited storage space and so can’t take in clothes. If any of our guests need clothes, we can take them shopping to buy new clothes and for our guests to choose what they need. If you would like to help with this, you could buy vouchers for high street shops which we can use when we go shopping with our guests.
Food: Thanks to people’s generosity, our food store is fully stocked for now.
Toys: We have received all the toys that we need for our Child and Family Centre.
Shoe boxes: We’re not able to accept shoe boxes filled with items.