Customer Marion Keates reveals why she decided against buying Christmas gifts this year and chose to donate the money to our community instead.

For some time I have thought that a lot of money is wasted on Christmas presents, and I have wanted to stop doing this. This year I decided it was time to bite the bullet, so I phoned my family to say that I thought the money could be better spent elsewhere.

I told them that, instead of giving presents, I would be donating money to Emmaus Dover, and that I would prefer them not to give me any gifts themselves. Instead, if they wished, they could give the money to charity. I hoped it would be my chosen one, but it would be up to them if they wanted to support another.

Why Emmaus Dover

I found out about Emmaus Dover a few years ago when I was searching for somewhere to recycle furniture. Then last year, I wanted to donate some things that belonged to my husband who had recently died, but I didn’t want them to just go on a rack in a shop. I contacted Emmaus Dover and asked whether the clothes, in good condition, could be offered to people living there.

I was so pleased that the answer was yes. When I delivered the clothes, I could see that the companions (formerly homeless people now supported by Emmaus Dover) who helped me unload them were very pleased. That gave me great comfort.

More than just a bed for the night

I’ve since returned to donate other items to Emmaus Dover and have spent time listening to some of the companions’ stories. What struck me most was that they all knew they had a home for as long as they wanted it, or until they felt ready to go out into the world again. They felt safe.

Having a home is such a basic need and sadly lacking to many people. Emmaus Dover, I now know, does so much more than giving people a home. It gives people their lives back, and I love that they’re known as companions – it shows dignity and respect.

If you’d like to join Marion in offering your support to Emmaus Dover this Christmas, please donate today.