Just like the Dr. Seuss character ’ The Grinch, here at Our Lady’s we have been reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas. While everyone is frantically gift shopping, writing cards and planning what to eat and who to invite for Christmas dinner, there are less fortunate families who struggle to meet the financial demands of everyday life, let alone Christmas. There are also vulnerable people – young and old – living on the streets through no fault of their own and there are elderly people who simply may not see a friendly face over the festive season.
With these people in mind we have been thinking of ways that we can make a difference to the local community this Christmastime. As part of our charitable work – in partnership with St Clare’s parish – we collected vital items required to support our homeless community in Manchester. With the cold weather setting in, items such as gloves, scarfs, warm socks, chocolate bars, cereal bars and sweets may only go a small way to lessen the daily struggles of those living on the streets but may also go a long way in terms of letting them know that people do care, that they’re not forgotten.
We also registered as an official drop-off point for Key 103’s Mission Christmas appeal and were astounded by the generosity this year; an abundance of gifts were handed over when Key 103’s driver arrived in the official van to collect our donations. It is rewarding to know your toys and gifts will make a real difference to those families across Greater Manchester who can’t afford presents and find the festive season difficult.
As part of the appeal, staff and students also supported Christmas jumper day on Friday 8 December – a great excuse to get the dazzling (all-be-it itchy) festive knits out!
And to celebrate this special time of year with the local community, Friday 8 December was the day we once again hosted our Over 50s ‘Young at Heart’ festive gathering. Every year this event is well-received, with residents from the local community joining us at Our Lady’s for lunch, entertainment and some special surprises. Guests were served a buffet lunch by our very own students which included some delicious chicken and stuffing pies made by Mr Haughton. Lunch was followed by singing and entertainment from Mr Banham, who certainly looked the part in his Santa costume!
Miss Durbin then played the piano and two of our very talented students - Tricia and Sifora sang. Year 8 student, Joy, also gave a beautiful acoustic performance. And let’s not forget Miss Gibbons’ brilliant rendition of 'Penny Arcade.’ It is wonderful to have the opportunity to welcome local residents to Our Lady’s to socialise and celebrate. With food, chat and entertainment, and the Our Lady’s staff and students showing off their Christmas jumpers, it certainly got everyone feeling Christmassy.
And it shouldn’t just be Christmas that brings out our charitable side – we should always be thinking of others and the gifts we can bestow, gifts that can't be bought from a store; the gifts of time, patience, understanding and love. These are gifts we can all continue to offer each other throughout 2018…