HuffPost: HumanKind brings you an advent calendar of kindness, celebrating good deeds and the people doing them, in order to inspire and bring hope this festive season. Find out more about the series, and read the previous entries here.
It’s Christmas Eve, which means we’ve officially reached the end of our HuffPost HumanKind advent calendar (*sobs*).
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the people helping others this year as much as we’ve enjoyed writing about them. And hopefully, you’ve gained a little inspiration to make 2019 your kindest year yet.
For now, we’re off to stuff our faces with mince pies. But don’t worry, we’ll be back in the new year with oodles of feel-good stories in our regular HumanKind section.
Until then, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite stories from the series celebrating the people who are making Christmas – and life in general – easier for others.
Merry Christmas one and all!
1. Angela Cox, who’s officially dog’s best friend
This will be the fifth Christmas Day that Angela Cox has spent with rescue animals – a ritual that has become a major part of her life. The Battersea Dogs and Cats Home volunteer, who doesn’t like to be sucked into the materialism of the festive season, instead spends the day surrounded by dogs in the animal shelter. After all, she says: “For the dogs there’s no distinction between Christmas and another day, they still need walking and human interaction.”
Read Angela’s full story here.
2. Karina Litvack, who’ll inspire you to do more for refugees
For the past year and a half, Karina Litvack has been housing Basel, a Syrian refugee, in her spare room. Karina told HuffPost UK about how he’d become “like a son” to her. Although she’s Jewish and doesn’t usually celebrate Christmas, last year she put up decorations in her London home, saying Basel’s arrival was the “perfect excuse” to try it. They had a tree topped with a decoration combining the Star of David and a crescent moon. The family are supported by Refugees At Home, a UK-based charity that connects people who have a spare room in their home with asylum seekers and refugees in need of accommodation.
Read Karen’s full story here.
3. Karen and Paul Green, who bought a caravan for a homeless couple
In autumn 2016 Karen and Paul Green discovered a homeless couple sleeping rough in the woods near to their home in Forest Town, Nottinghamshire. They brought them food and cigarettes over the next few days, but they wanted to do more. So Paul purchased a small second hand caravan for £100 for the couple to live in. The couple remained on the Greens’ driveway for a total of three months, including over the Christmas period where the two families had dinner together. Karen and Paul also got in touch with social services to try and get the couple on the housing list, and the pair were offered temporary accommodation in February 2017.
Read the Greens’ full story here.
4. Shashi and Pallu Patel, who are ending Christmas loneliness
For the past 15 years on Christmas Day, Shashi and Pallu Patel have opened the doors of their newsagents to locals who would otherwise be spending the day alone. “Pop in for a hug and a mince pie!” reads a sign outside their shop. “You don’t have to buy anything... we are family.” Last year, around 350 people came to Meet & Deep News on Christmas Day. An international student, who travelled to their Twickenham store from Bethnal Green, said he found “comfort and friendship without judgment”.
Read the Patels’ full story here.
5. Ruby Jones, who’s helping those struggling with illness over Christmas
Earlier this year Ruby Jones was left bed-bound after fluid leaked from a tear in the membranes surrounding her spinal cord. The leak was caused by a condition she was born with called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which causes defects in a person’s connective tissue. While she was unwell, the 22-year-old spent a lot of time in bed, chatting online with other people unable to leave their homes because of disabilities or chronic conditions. And she realised many of them needed cheering up. So she set up Chronically Cute Cards, sending handmade cards to strangers, free of charge. You can request a card for a friend in need via Facebook.
Read Ruby’s full story here.
6. Jacob Rabi-Laleh, who’s filled hundreds of backpacks for the homeless
Jacob Rabi-Laleh may be eight-years-old, but he’s doing more than most to help homeless people this Christmas. After walking past some homeless people in a shelter in Brighton, he couldn’t get them out of his mind. So when he went home that night, he got out his pens and paper and created a poster asking for people to donate items of warm clothing. He aimed to collect enough to fill 10 backpacks, but a year on, he’s filled hundreds of bags for homeless people and is prepping to fill another few hundred in the run up to Christmas.
Read Jacob’s full story here.
HumanKind is HuffPost’s celebration of kindness, featuring people who do incredible things for others or the planet – transforming lives through small but significant acts. Get involved by joining us on Facebook. You can also nominate those who deserve to be shouted about by filling in this form or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.