Many Helped by Caritas Salford this ChristmasThursday 21st January 2021
Throughout the year and throughout the Covid pandemic all Caritas services have remained open. In particular, front line services to the elderly and homeless, those experiencing isolation and loneliness have continued to serve their communities over the Christmas holiday period and here are a few highlights.
Christmas Day – Caritas Cornerstone Day Centre, Manchester
Caritas Salford on Christmas Day welcomed 56 guests for breakfast and 77 guests for lunch at their Cornerstone Day Centre for homeless people in the heart of the city of Manchester. These numbers were expecting as weeks before Christmas the centre was welcoming and catering for an average of 70 people a day. Even on one of the coldest days of the year with no buses running people were coming into the centres to pick up a take-away Christmas lunch.
Staff from St Antony’s Roman Catholic School in Trafford had prepared the special Christmas dinners and had been busy making hundreds of Christmas meals for those who need help this Christmas. Fiona Wright Head teacher, who delivered the meals to Cornerstone herself on Christmas Day, said, “I am so proud of everyone making this happen. At this time of the year it is really important that we work together as a community to support those in need, and the school is delighted to be able to contribute”. As well as their lunch, all guests received a Christmas Hamper full of treat things such as tin of chocolates, jams, selection boxes, cakes, tins of ham, tuna and chicken, tea coffee sugar, savoury crackers, box biscuits cheeses, butter, juice and lots more, they also receive a gift bag/box of present including hats, scarfs, gloves, and toiletries.
Caritas was delighted to welcome BBC Radio Manchester and presenter Eamonn O’Neal to Cornerstone Day Centre who hosted a live two hour Christmas Day broadcast during the breakfast session leading up to the ‘Covid-secure-take-away Christmas lunch’ that served all the guests. As well as a radio presenter, Eamonn is the current High Sheriff of Greater Manchester and has been proactive in supporting the work of charities such as Caritas. One guest, was Bishop John Arnold who spent the morning at the Cornerstone centre meeting staff and volunteers and sharing his thoughts with Radio Manchester listeners on the pandemic, Christmas and homelessness. He said, “The pandemic has asked some important questions about the way we care for each other. We do not want to return to an ‘old normal’ where too many people are left behind, too many marginalised. I want to work to a normal that means everyone is included, no one is beyond reach or forgotten”.
Lorraine Cumbo, Caritas Cornerstone centre manager said, “On behalf of all the staff and volunteers we would like to thank everyone – businesses, groups & numerous individuals – who have donated their time, money and food we are truly blessed to have your support enable to continue delivering our services. The food we offer the many people that come here to get their lunch might be the only thing they get to eat that day. As we have got closer to Christmas the numbers are definitely rising, the weather’s worsening, and that makes things difficult for rough sleepers – we get very worried when somebody we are expecting doesn’t appear.”
Phil Callaghan, a volunteer on furlough said, “It’s great to be part of this team today”.
Caritas also ran Christmas Day services in Bury, Bolton and Manchester.
To find out more about the work of Caritas Diocese of Salford or support the Miracle of Kindness appeal, please visit www.caritassalford.org.uk
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