Holiday helpers give a charitable present

By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, December 30, 2008
Daniel Merriman (left) and Simon Last serve a Kentish Town soup kitchen

Daniel Merriman (left) and Simon Last serve a Kentish Town soup kitchen

Supporters of the Tikun charity have been helping in soup kitchens, homeless shelters and care homes during the holiday period through its Light up a Life programme.

Operating from December 24, the programme has attracted more than 200 volunteers and assisted charities and projects including Crisis, North London soup kitchens, Jewish Care and Gift.

Expressing delight at the response, Tikun founder Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt said: “A fundamental part of Judaism is about giving, but giving doesn’t just mean money, but time and effort. It’s incredibly fulfilling doing this kind of volunteering.”

Rabbi Rosenblatt — who undertook three 10-hour shifts at Crisis — added that “during a recession people get very self-involved and it’s even more important to be concerned about others. Volunteering is one of the highlights of my year. You will never have a more memorable experience. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Volunteer Shirley Littas, 24, believed that young professionals “have a lot of time to spare and to give up three hours on a Sunday is not a difficult thing to do. Tikun has given people a way to help.”

She had helped out at Barnet Community Centre, where 40 homeless people enjoyed a three-course meal. “It’s a lovely atmosphere to chill out in, very sociable,” she recalled. “We had a lot of very grateful people.”

Last updated: 3:34pm, December 30 2008