Our countdown to Christmas has begun with the consumption of mulled wine and mince pies, as is my little personal tradition.
I started accumulating the mince pies from the supermarkets at the end of November, having forgotten that I had already done a survey of the various mince pies last year. I was wondering what to do with the over supply of mince pies when my attention was turned to the homeless.
Ever since the extent of homelessness in the UK came to our attention in May this year when we studied about the Victorian poor, I have become more aware of the signs of the current rising food and housing crises around us, for example the increase in the number of food bank collection points in town and the number of people selling The Big Issue (a magazine sold by homeless people). The trend is both worrying and upsetting.
We already make regular donations to the food banks and to the charity shops, but I feel compelled to do a little more this December. I thought about volunteering at a homeless shelter over Christmas, but knew I would be too upset when I come face-to-face with real people who are in such a desperate situation, so this year I will just make donations of winter clothing and 10% of our weekly grocery to the shelter, including all the extra mince pies that I have bought -- although I seriously think that homeless people have bigger problems to worry about than having mince pies to eat at Christmas time. Maybe next year I will find the courage to actually go and help out at the shelter.