Wishing Aisling friends and supporters a happy, healthy Xmas. Pic above of Joseph on vocals and Mary on keyboards courtesy of Royal Mail.
Mary and Joseph were travelling in a strange land when they were turned away from the inn while looking for shelter. There is an obvious lesson here for us all to be more charitable to the homeless (and refugees/migrants) particularly at Christmas. Yet the birth of baby Jesus in a stable does not seem to resonate as strongly as it should among some of those who claim to be Christians. Many of the loudest of these, particularly in the US (but increasingly here) rarely refer to the New Testament of the bible (the story of Jesus) at all, preferring the fire and brimstone of the Old Testament pouring down fear and retribution from above. Even these offerings are often selectively chosen to make us fearful rather than compassionate and mistake parable for literal truth. The feeding of the 5,000 for instance is surely more to do with sharing what we have so that there would be enough for all to eat than a miracle raining down loaves and fishes from the sky.
Which is all a long-winded way of saying that Aisling is doing our best to provide some seasonal cheer for our clients who have nowhere to go at Christmas. The ever-wonderful Pat Logue of the Sheephaven Bay pub in Camden Town once more invited 20 Aisling clients to his pub for a feast of turkey and pudding if not loaves and fishes but there was more than enough for us to know that we had been righteously served. Thank you Pat for this, only the latest of all you many kindnesses down the years since you raised money for the first Aisling trip back in ’94.
Another long-time supporter of Aisling is Noel Faulkner who was our link along with Ardal O’Hanlon to the world of comedy. Noel ran the Comedy Café in Shoreditch for many years and used to supply us with many of the comedians who gave their time for free at our comedy benefit every year (which will be back as soon as we can see past Coved). A couple of years ago Noel packed in the comedy game and moved back to his native Galway in his own inimitable style in a sailing boat, where he lives in the harbour during the winter and sails in warmer climes in the summer. Noel called me up a couple of weeks ago and donated £500 to Aisling which we used to give a bit of extra Christmas to our clients.
So thanks to Noel we are sending out home delivery Xmas dinners on or just before the day itself. Also, we have arranged frozen dinners for those who have fridges and cookers and presents of warm hats, scarves, gloves and toiletries. We have linked others in with Brent food bank and hampers courtesy of Camden New Journal, also supported by Pat Logue and his super Xmas quiz, with ITV brain box Sean Wallace.
All the best to our friends and supporters including the many volunteers who have befriended and chipped in on fundraising, admin and so much more all year long. Doesn’t it feel so much better when you have spread the joy around a bit?