A bishop has joined a Christian rapper in backing a charity which aims to surprise a million people in the UK with “bags of kindness” this Christmas.
The Love Christmas scheme, run by charity Love Your Neighbour, will deliver food, clothes and gifts to people around the country who are in need of support.
It relies on thousands of volunteers to donate, as well as packing and delivering the parcels to their neighbours.
Bishop Richard Moth said: “I am very pleased to offer my support to the national, ecumenical initiative ‘Love Christmas.’ Its aim is to spread love, hope and kindness this Christmas through collecting and sharing boxes of gifts and Christmas food to those most in need in our community.”
Last year the scheme, which won praise from both Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer, reached 775,000 people in more than 300,000 homes – and the charity hopes its 2021 drive will surpass the million mark.
Love Christmas is also supported by award-winning Christian musician Guvna B, real name Isaac Borquaye, who said: “It’s the human condition to want to help others, and people have put aside things that usually divide them to come together.
“The beautiful thing about this is it doesn’t matter who you are, where you have come from or what background you have, you can get involved and benefit from Love Christmas and make a positive impact to society,” he added.
Bishop Moth, Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Social Justice, said the scheme is coming at just the right time. “It is both timely and much needed given the adverse impact the Covid pandemic continues to have on many people in terms of health, finances, isolation, loneliness and mental health,” he said.
According to the charity, the aim of distributing the bags is both “helping each recipient materially and enabling them to feel the warmth of human connection”.
Love Your Neighbour’s cross-denominational network of churches is joined by charities, businesses and other local organisations to help deliver the packages.
Bishop Moth said the scheme was a ‘simple, practical way’ to live out the Christmas message. “Pope Francis reminds us that at Christmas, ‘God came among us in poverty and need, to tell us that in serving the poor, we will show our love for him’”, he said. “‘Love Christmas’ is a very simple, practical way for parishes to share in this call and to show their neighbourhoods they care this Christmas.”
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “It is wonderful to see such a diversity of networks, churches and people, working alongside each other to inspire greater hope and joy in streets and neighbourhoods across the United Kingdom.”
To find out more, go to loveyourneighbour.uk/lovechristmas
PICTURE: Undated handout photo issued by Love Your Neighbour of resident Barbara receiving her Christmas package. Volunteers from St Francis Church on the Dalgarno Estate in West London deliver over 1500 Christmas boxes to all of the residents as part of the the national ‘Love Christmas’ initiative.