People from around Emmaus joined forces on 1 February for a nationwide Day of Action, as part of a worldwide Uprising of Kindness.

Companions, people who live at Emmaus communities, spent the day taking part in activities to spread kindness and to support people in need. The Day of Action marked the 70th anniversary of Emmaus founder Abbé Pierre’s Uprising of Kindness radio appeal in Paris that sparked an outpouring of public generosity.

Spreading kindness to rough sleepers

A group of companions from Emmaus North East gave out care packages to people sleeping rough on the streets of Newcastle. They also included messages of encouragement with the packages, which contained warm clothing, food, and essentials.

Ruth Parker, Chief Executive of Emmaus North East, said: “Kindness is a universal language and unites people and communities together. An act of kindness costs nothing and was one of the most important things we could do for others.”

Supporting children and families

Emmaus Merseyside delivered food packages to a local charity, Ykids, and primary school Our Lady, Star of the Sea. The donation will be used to stock Ykids’ community pantry and will be shared with 70 families in the area who are experiencing need.

Stewart, a companion of Emmaus Merseyside who delivered the food gifts, said: “Both the school and Ykids were very grateful for our gifts of kindness, and we hope to continue supporting both with food donations and help if they need it. I’m someone who gives help to anyone who needs it and like to help in any way I can. It feels good to be kind.”

As part of their drive to complete 70 acts of kindness, Emmaus Dover donated furniture to people experiencing need. Through their solidarity fund, the community donates items each month to help tackle furniture poverty.

Four people take part in a litter pick outside some shops as part of the Day of Action.Being kind to the environment

Companions, staff and trustees from Emmaus Mossley volunteered in their local community for projects that work to protect and improve local green spaces. One group helped create a rockery in their local park, as well as carrying out general tidying. Another helped with maintenance tasks at Mossley Community Centre, creating a more welcoming space for everyone that uses it. Companions also carried out litter picks and tackled fly-tipped waste.

Leon, who volunteered with Friends of Mossley Park, said: “It has been great to get out there and give back to the wider Mossley community. I think we should all do it more often to be fair as it makes a big impact and makes us feel better about ourselves as well.”

Companions from Emmaus Glasgow also cleared and tidied a garden belonging to a local elderly lady to help her to enjoy her home and garden and improve safety at her property.

Standing together in solidarity

Some communities and groups used the Day of Action as an opportunity to show solidarity for other good causes.

Emmaus Salford supported homelessness organisation, Salford Loaves and Fishes, by giving out hot drinks and vouchers for Emmaus Salford’s food bank. Emmaus Bristol launched an appeal for items to support local homelessness charity BOSH, while Emmaus Colchester appealed for essential items for a charity that supports refugees and asylum seekers.

Companions and staff from Emmaus Cambridge braved a sleepout to show solidarity with people who are experiencing homelessness. Teaming up with Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group, they called on people to show support by joining them or by donating.

Jon, an Emmaus Cambridge companion, said: “The sleepout is a great way we can all stand together in solidarity and support one another. People are still freezing to death on the streets, and millions are living in poverty. This is our way of making a difference and saying we won’t have it.”

A male companion hands a bunch of flowers to a female shopper. They are both happy and smiling at the camera.United by kindness

From holding solidarity sales to giving out free gifts to customers, many more communities and groups took part in the Day of Action, spreading kindness to others.

Emmaus UK took the opportunity to share messages of thanks with supporters, showing people what a difference they make across the Emmaus federation. People from across Emmaus took part in a video to thank supporters and express what that support means to them.

Uprising of Kindness activities will continue across Emmaus throughout the year, spreading kindness and making a positive difference for people experiencing homelessness, social exclusion and poverty. Find out how you can get involved.