Our founder, Fr Pedro Arrupe, with his heart deeply rooted in the values of Jesuit spirituality, saw the importance of hospitality, community and friendship for refugees arriving to new countries all over the world following the Vietnam War. It was a refugee crisis and there was a call to act. Similarly, in this 40th year of JRS, we feel that call to act again in the midst of a health crisis that particularly disadvantages destitute refugees.
Every day I speak with refugee friends who are suffering. They are waiting to feel welcome in the UK and to be treated with the dignity they deserve. This year, feelings of isolation and uncertainty are heightened.
Things are sadly a little different for us this year. Could you help JRS UK make Christmas extra special for our refugee friends? Donate now
Usually at this time of year I am preparing our day centre for a big Christmas lunch with all of our refugee friends in December. Our staff and volunteers would dedicate a day to cooking up a feast, decorating the centre and playing Christmas songs. For some of our refugee friends without family or friends, Christmas can be a lonely time without festivity, joy or comfort. That is why our extra special Christmas Day Centre is a memorable day in our JRS calendar, when the JRS family comes together to share a long day of laughs, company and food.
The JRS Christmas lunch gives our refugee friends a chance to celebrate, feel the warm hugs from one another and experience that distinct JRS atmosphere. As you can understand, Christmas lunch will not be taking place this year
Instead, JRS are hoping to make Christmas memorable for our friends through the emergency parcels we have continued to deliver across Greater London, week after week, since April. We hope to include some special items to help them celebrate Christmas along with an extra top-up to their pre-paid JRS MasterCards so that they can pick up something to mark the occasion this December.
Before Christmas, I hope you will be able to make a special donation so that we can make Christmas special for our refugee friends, despite the pandemic. The impact you can have on our refugee friends is immeasurable. As we look ahead, there are certainly many months to come of supporting refugees who are isolated, in detention, destitute and even homeless. We simply cannot continue our work without donations and generosity from people like you.
Liliane is Day Centre Officer at JRS UK
Donate today to make Christmas special for our refugee friends!