Last Tuesday, JRS UK held its annual Volunteer Christmas party at the Hurtado Jesuit Centre in Wapping. It was an opportunity to thank our volunteers for all their hard work during the year by cooking a special Christmas dinner prepared by JRS staff under the leadership of our volunteer chef. We also gave each volunteer a small gift bag of hand-wrapped chocolates with a quote from Desmond Tutu. Our volunteers were in great spirits and commented on how joyful the evening was.
JRS volunteers and staff worked hard during the day to prepare a delicious Christmas menu of festive food including salmon, turkey, potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, pigs in blankets and vegan loafs. All dishes were carefully planned by our volunteer head chef with help from JRS staff who served the dishes to our volunteers.
Staff also put up festive Christmas decorations during the day, including a beautiful Christmas tree and hand-made colourful paper chains, which had been made by the JRS Creative Arts group – a refugee led activity that runs weekly complementing our Day Centre. Tables were laid out with colourful tablecloths, and set for a three course dinner. In true Christmas spirit, crackers were laid out on each place setting.
In her speech during the evening, director of JRS UK, Sarah Teather, thanked all volunteers for their dedication, hard-work and support of JRS UK, emphasising that without them we would not be able to carry out the important work we do. She also gave special thanks to our volunteer head chef for his dedication and meticulous preparation of the evening, as well as his weekly help cooking for staff at JRS.
Volunteers were in good spirits and enjoyed being able to meet with one another in a time of celebration. Many commented on the joyful atmosphere present during the evening and noted how much fun they had. Towards the end of the evening, JRS staff gave out small gift bags of chocolates to volunteers, which were labelled with a poignant quote from Desmond Tutu: ‘Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.’
Nick, our Communities Outreach Officer, who helped organise the event said: “The evening was full of festive joy and we were very pleased to have such a tremendous turnout. Our volunteers are the heart & soul of our work at JRS from helping run our Day Centre every week, to visiting our friends in detention, hosting our destitute friends or helping run the JRS office day-to-day. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to dedicate a whole evening and do something for them for a change!”
If you’d like to volunteer with JRS and make a real difference to the lives of destitute refugees and those held in detention, visit our volunteering page to find out more.