Every contribution makes a big difference to people's lives

September 2012

Regular donations from St Mary's SVP are continuing to help secure the future of Sunderland Open House: a café-style drop-in for people who are homeless, living in extreme poverty or who are vulnerable due to their dependency on drugs or alcohol.

Held in St Mary's parish hall, Open House is run entirely by volunteers and provided free of charge, so donations are vital to maintain the supply of much-needed food and refreshments served to around 50 men and women in desperate need each week.

In addition to the regular guests, others can occasionally arrive at Open House after being referred by caring agencies and organisations, meaning the volunteers have to be prepared for everything.

Lifeline Sunderland, which provides a local harm minimisation service, recently turned to Open House when a client they were helping also desperately needed food. Not only were the volunteers able to provide him with a hot meal and drink in the warmth and comfort of the parish hall drop-in, but they were also able to give him a food parcel to take away. This can be vital for people who don't know when they will find their next meal.

Open House is attracting new volunteers all the time; some making delicious home-made pies, soups, cakes and scones, while others prefer to serve, chat and socialise with guests or help in the kitchen.

Every contribution made is greatly valued and through the generosity of the SVP, its many other supporters and its volunteers, Open House is able to make a huge difference to people's lives.

St Mary's Open House is one of eleven PACE (Parish and Community Enablement) projects set up by local parishes around the region with the support of St Cuthberts Care. If you or someone you know would like to come along please come along on a Thursday between 10am and 1pm in St Mary's Parish Hall on Bridge Street in Sunderland.