At Hutt St Centre we feel everyone is worth remembering, especially at Christmas.
We feel it’s a time for giving – not just the usual presents, but true gifts.
Throughout the year we try to give life-empowering gifts: the power of education, the security of a safe place to call home, the tools and confidence to find work, encouragement and faith that life can get better.
Christmas gives us a time to reflect on how those gifts have helped to rebuild people’s lives and to consider what gifts we should look to give next year. It’s a time to remember and consider each individual’s story and help them plan their own unique pathways out of homelessness.
In November we held a “One Sight” clinic at Hutt St Centre, offering free eye testing and glasses, if required, for 73 people experiencing homelessness.
The day after the clinic one of the men told me about the joy a pair of glasses will give him and how they will change his life. Every day he catches a bus home from Hutt St but he can’t read the numbers on the front of the bus. He waves down any bus he sees coming along the road and when it stops he is too embarrassed to ask the driver where he’s going and feels guilty if he doesn’t get on that bus because the driver has already stopped. So he just gets on and hopes it’s going his way. Understandably he has ended up in all sorts of random places and arrives home at all sorts of times. He is excited to know that once he has his glasses he will be able to read the number on the front of the bus and only wave down the correct one.
How easy it is for us to take for granted the gift of sight?
I sat down with one of our clients, Butch, last week to talk to him about Christmas. Butch has been coming to Hutt St Centre off and on for 10 years.
“Every Christmas here is unique,” he said.
“Many things change from year to year – who comes here, who is no longer with us, the volunteers. Some people stuff up sometimes because we all make mistakes, but they know that they can come back and try again. We are given time to sit, share a story, talk to someone who has no expectations but encourages us to do our best.
“I’m thankful for the opportunities I can get here at Hutt St Centre and for the friendships I can make, which I really value.”
This Christmas I will be here again, like Butch – this time for the breakfast shift.
It’s a great time to reflect on the lives of people we see, who usually have very little, and how we must plan each year to help them achieve their personal goals.
We strive to be innovative and creative at Hutt St Centre and dare to dream of a time where we are no longer needed. In the meantime, though, and especially at Christmas, we will remember each face, listen to each story and build positive memories for people to take away.
A donation to Hutt St Centre at Christmas time enables us to plan the gifts we can give to the people who come to us, often desperately in need, in the future. Those gifts are not without thought. They are gifts that can’t be wrapped, or placed under a tree. But they are gifts of hope for a better life.
To donate money or goods
To donate to Hutt St Centre’s Christmas Appeal go here or call 8418 2509. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.
To make a donation of goods go here and find the Christmas Wish List where there are a number of suggestions of donations that are most valued at this time of year.
Hutt St Centre Christmas Day
We will be serving breakfast from 7.40- 8.30am and lunch from 11.45am – 12.45pm on Christmas Day. People experiencing homelessness or with nowhere to go at Christmas are welcome to join us for breakfast or lunch on Christmas Day. (Hutt St Centre is an alcohol, drug and smoke free environment.)
Volunteering at Christmas at Hutt St Centre
All volunteer places are filled at Hutt St Centre on Christmas Day. Try Volunteering SA to find out where you might be able to help out at Christmas.
Ian Cox is the CEO of Hutt St Centre.
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