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 uncover new stories daily here.
It was late autumn in 2016 when Karen and Paul Green first came across a couple sleeping rough in the woods near to their home in Forest Town, Nottinghamshire. Paul, a 52-year-old tattooist and body piercer, recognised the homeless woman, who was an acquaintance from years before.
For the next few days, he and 41-year-old Karen took them some meals and cigarettes. And then, later that week, Paul unexpectedly arrived home with a small two-berth caravan he’d picked up for £100.
“We both love helping other people where we can,” said Karen. “The world’s a cruel place, there aren’t many good people about anymore. Everybody is out for themselves. Paul went off and bought [the caravan] … and brought them [the homeless couple] back to our house.”
Paul and Karen, who have three children, housed the homeless couple in the caravan on their driveway for three months in total, including over the Christmas period. “We used to make them meals and just look after them basically,” said Karen.
They also got in touch with social services to try and get the couple on the housing list, so they could move into accommodation of their own.
On Christmas Day, the pair made enough Christmas dinner for the whole family and their guests in the caravan, and ensured the couple also had some presents to open. “It was magical,” said Karen, who runs a livery yard. “They both said that they’d not had a Christmas present for about 20 years.”
The homeless couple were eventually offered temporary accommodation, which they moved into in February 2017. Paul and Karen kept in touch with them for about a year, before sadly losing touch.
Philippa Woodsford, 42, nominated Karen to be featured in our HuffPost: HumanKind series. She met Karen two years ago at the funeral of a friend. “I suppose you could say we helped each other through a really sad time and became firm friends,” she said.
“If you’re having a hard time, Karen will suddenly turn up with a huge bunch of flowers and give you a hug. She’ll ring every day until you’re feeling better and she makes sure you’re never alone. But she never asks or expects anything in return … She’s been an amazing support and she’s always got time for people. They both do.”
So what motivates the couple? When asked why it’s important to give back, Karen responded: “It’s just what we do. We’re both more or less the same person: we don’t like seeing anybody going without.”
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.