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Parishioners show people power can make a difference

Christmas presents

Across the Archdiocese, many churches support Father Hudson’s Care in different ways, according to their means – through prayers, fundraising, volunteering and donating items. The effort that each parish puts into aiding our work with people in need means a great deal to Father Hudson’s Care and we are grateful to all who do so.

Some parishes ‘go the extra mile’ in their efforts. St Ambrose Barlow in Hall Green is one such church where parishioners went above and beyond.

As well as giving to the Annual Collection in aid of Father Hudson’s Care in September, individuals and groups from the parish did many different things over the Christmas period that helped Father Hudson’s and its community projects.

One parishioner, Ben, started doing quizzes in aid of charity and at Christmas selected Father Hudson’s Care as the beneficiary. His fellow parishioners paid to take part in the quiz, and some sold them among their friends. The quizzers raised £112 in aid of our work with people in need.

The weekly Over-55s Group chose to help homeless people by raising funds for Tabor House. The Digbeth shelter is one of Father Hudson’s partnership projects, assisting people to move off the street as well as providing a warm welcome and safe shelter. The group raised £350, which will enable Tabor House to offer hot food, a shower, a warm bed and support to homeless people.

The parish secretary had heard of other parishes having a Jesse Tree and using it to collect Christmas presents for people in need. So, parish priest Fr Paul Johnson agreed to place a Jesse Tree on the altar. He asked Father Hudson’s Family Support Service what kind of presents would benefit the children and families they work with, and put matching labels on the tree. The tree was so popular that all the labels were taken at one Mass. Fr Paul had to ask for more because parishioners kept asking him what presents were needed.

/media/news/library/gifts.jpgFather Hudson’s Family Support Workers gave out the beautifully wrapped gifts to children, young people and families who are experiencing difficulties or facing adversity. They also enabled Sophia House, a new home for female refugees, to give gifts to their first tenants, one of whom moved in just days before Christmas.

One mum whose child received a present said, “My daughter loved her book and jumper. I told her it was from Santa and her face lit up. It’s lovely to have been given the present. Thank you.”

A second parent wrote, “It was absolutely beautiful and I shed a tear of joy that someone cared enough to do that for my family.”

Parishioners collected clothes and other essentials and brought them to a collection box in the church. These will be given out by St Chad’s Sanctuary to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in Birmingham.

During Advent, many people gave to the Crib collection in aid of Father Hudson’s Origins service. Origins provides support and answers to people who experienced a childhood separation from their birth family, through adoption or living in care.

Father Hudson’s Care is blessed to have the support of parishes the length and breadth of the diocese. The example of St Ambrose Barlow shows what the generosity of people from just one parish can do to make a tangible difference to so many different people in need.

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