Diverse communities come together to unveil homelessness ice sculpture

By ANISAH ARIF

At 10:30am on 17th December, in Canary Wharf station, in the heart of the financial district, international humanitarian charity, Penny Appeal will be unveiling 5 life-size ice statues symbolising homeless families to promote their winter campaign. The frozen family will depict the plight of the 140* families who become homeless every day, and the 900* children who become homeless every month, right here in the UK.

The Right Reverend Paul Hendricks and Baroness Warsi will be joined by Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra to unveil the ice sculptures, following a brief speech highlighting the ways in which Britain’s diverse range of communities can show compassion and become more aware of homelessness during the festive period. Asking “What Would Jesus Do?”, the campaign will align people from all backgrounds together in the spirit of giving during the festive winter period.

To some, it will seem strange that a Muslim charity is asking people what Jesus would do, that is, until they find out that Muslims also believe in Jesus. To Muslims, Jesus, like Muhammad, was a prophet, and showed compassion and warmth to those in need. Christians will be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. He taught his followers to feed the hungry and to love their neighbour.

Many homeless people remain hidden from view during winter, choosing to bus-surf or find other means of keeping warm. Both Muslims and Christians are inspired by their faiths to help them. We are placing the sculptures outside of the warm, cheerful interiors of some of London’s biggest offices to inspire people to give to an otherwise invisible community, just as Jesus would do.

Volunteers from Penny Appeal’s Team Orange will be distributing emergency relief to the homeless throughout the festive period, as well as hosting afternoon tea for elderly people who might be cold or lonely during winter and delivering gifts to children in hospital to offer some cheer during the festive season.

Aamer Naeem, CEO of Penny Appeal says: “To Some it will seem strange that a Muslim charity is asking people ‘What would Jesus do’ that is until they find out Muslims also  believe in Jesus. To Muslims Jesus, like Mohammed was a prophet and showed compassion and warmth to those in need. Our campaign reaching out to help the vulnerable homeless in the UK runs all year round, but this is the season where we feel more for those in need due to the harshness of the weather”.

Penny Appeal is an aid and development Yorkshire organisation working in the UK and 30 other crisis-hit countries around the world. Whether we are responding to an emergency disaster or providing long-term solutions to break the cycle of poverty, we unite communities and provide the best support possible, in the most cost-effective way we can. At our heart, we use small change to make a BIG difference for people in need.

This initiative is supported by the Christian Muslim Forum, the leading national charity for Christian-Muslim engagement.

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