St Michael & All Angels

Sharing God's Love

Charity of the Month

Each month Marden Parish Church likes to support a different charitable cause. This is promoted here in the Magazine, and also there is a presentation during the 10.30 service on the first Sunday of each month. We thank all those who have generously supported these good causes, and include a list of those that will be supported through this coming year. 

January - Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter
February - Shelter Box
March - Embrace the Middle East 
April - Hospice in the Weald
May - Christian Aid
June - Alzheimer’s Society
July - Fegans 
August - Christians Against Poverty
September - Marie Curie
October - Friends of the Earth
November - Five Talents
December - The Children’s Society 

The charity for the month of January is Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter

This year Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter will provide overnight accommodation and hospitality each night 3rd January to 29th March for the most vulnerable 15 homeless people in the local area. That is the ‘most vulnerable’ as assessed by the experienced Project Leader out of the 40 or so known street homeless in Maidstone. Some additional guests do come just for dinner. 

Each night volunteers set up camp beds with sleeping bags, cook and serve a hot meal and provide safety overnight. Safe, not only from the cold, but from the risks of sleeping rough such as being set upon, robbed, assaulted, insulted, falling ill. Each morning, breakfast is served and guests go on their way. Beds are cleared and sleeping bags and laundry are taken to other volunteers to wash. 

The Shelter operates at a different church hall each night, and beds are ‘booked’ by guests each afternoon following an assessment with support workers. An assessment of their vulnerability, and also of risk. Guests who pose a risk to others are unable to be accommodated; guests may not use drugs or alcohol whilst at the Shelter. Not quite as simple as booking with ‘Air BnB’, and it is a tough call on who is number 15 and gets the last bed and who is number 16 and doesn’t.  

The Shelter works with local communities and support agencies to improve lives and to help people move on from living on the streets. It employs a small team to provide operations management, administration and volunteer support.  

Homelessness, loneliness and poor mental health are increasingly talked about in the media, and it is sometimes easy to forget there are individuals behind the headlines. The Shelter provides guests the opportunity to be respected and cared for as individuals, a respite from being walked past and ignored and only being seen as part of ‘The Homeless Problem’. The Shelter offers physical and emotional warmth; the chance to talk, play games, read or just sit or sleep. There is much laughter, sometimes tears, and always plenty of food and drink. There is joy if somebody is found a place to live, and a sense of hope for some who are otherwise hopeless. 

Volunteers from Marden have increased over the years, and include a venue lead, evening and overnight volunteers, providers of meals, and washers of laundry. We have also received generous donations of clothing, toiletries and money. 

Thank you for all the support you have given the Shelter thus far. Any future support will be much appreciated. 

 If you would like more information: 

Look at the website www.maidstoneshelter.org.uk 

Contact Chris Hutchinson 01622 833176, Sandra Bourne 01622 831473 

Karen Gipps 

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The charity for the month of February is Shelterbox

ShelterBox teams work with disaster-hit families around the world, offering emergency shelter and other essential items. Having somewhere dry and warm to sleep, to prepare meals and be with your family is vital for starting the long process of rebuilding your life. 

Every disaster is different, and so is every community, so they spend time with those affected to make sure they can offer the right support at the right time to help them recover. 

Their teams can travel by boat, helicopter, or tuk-tuk to get to the families who need support - whatever it takes to get to the people who have lost their homes to disaster.

‘When I received a Shelter Kit, it gave me the courage to start rebuilding my house because I knew I had the materials I needed for the roof.’

They work with disaster-affected communities to provide the emergency shelter, essential items and training needed to support families in the long process of rebuilding their lives.

They often go further, working with hard-to-reach communities who are overlooked by others.  

Before a disaster happens, they make sure they are ready to help. They store aid in strategic locations around the world so they can get it to the families who need it as quickly as possible, working with trusted local partners, and have a network of incredible volunteers who are ready to help at a moment’s notice.

Here are just 2 of the places they are currently working in:-

The Philippines  

In October 2019, three powerful earthquakes shook Mindanao island, turning homes and buildings to rubble. Thousands of people were forced to flee to evacuation centres and stay with host families. They have worked closely with Rotary and the local government to support over 1,500 families who have lost so much.

Somaliland

Severe drought in Somaliland has affected an estimated 766,000 people since November 2016. Over the last three years the drought has killed up to 80% of the region’s livestock. This has had a devastating effect for thousands of families who rely on livestock farming, forcing them to flee their homes in search of better grazing land. They have worked closely with their partner ActionAid to support families affected by the severe drought, with essential items like tarpaulins and rope. 

They have supported nearly 4,500 families so far and are currently working to see whether they can undertake more projects in the area in the future.  

As well as collections in church we are holding a fundraising supper evening, details below.

Jane Lowther   Norma Sepple

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Fundraising Supper Evening

Saturday 15th February - 7 for 7.30 pm

Vestry Hall     £10
2 course supper – bring your own drink     Fun quiz     

Please let Norma know if you are coming 01622 833268 

www.shelterbox.org