We had a good turn out to give a warm welcome this month to our charity speaker, Beth Hockley, who spoke on behalf of Mercy in Action.   Beth gave an informative talk and I must admit, other than questions, everyone sat captivated by what she had to say.  This amazing charity has identified a need to support children in Cebu in the Philippines through education and has done so since 2000.  Education in the Philippines is free, though when you unpick the finer details if the children are not wearing the correct footwear, or presenting the right exercise book, they are excluded.  If this were applied to schooling in the UK, there wouldn’t be any problems with classroom sizes!  Beth showed us pictures of ‘the Mamas’ who volunteer to get up early in the morning and cook ‘humungous’ amounts of rice to help provide school lunch to children across various schools.

Beth spoke about the day centres in which children can access food, education and a safe place to sleep in the afternoon.  These children live on the street and spend the nights awake as it is not safe enough for them to sleep.  What a topsy-turvy, stressful life it must be.  However, the support that Mercy in Action provides must be a real life line for them.  Mercy in Action has 3 children’s homes that they fund.  Some of these children have local parents who for whatever reason are unable to look after them.  Indeed, there is one child who they are giving a home to who does not know who their parents are, or when their birthday is, or how indeed how old they are.

Charity shops are a big source of income.  There are shops in Larkhall, Chelsea Rd and Bear Flats.  Beth also pointed out that they have a warehouse along the Bristol Lower Rd – beyond Lidl and McDonalds and easily identified by the bright yellow logo.  There is easy parking there, so any charitable donations can be dropped off.  There is also an annual Ladies’ Challenge Friday 6th to Sunday 8th May, which includes map reading, coastal walks and orienteering.  The Ladies raise money through sponsorship to help these children

In addition, Children can be sponsored for £18 a month which pays for school equipment, meals, medical needs and outings etc.  Beth has a delightful folder of children’s profiles, which a prospective sponsor can peruse and decide who they would like to support.  I understand that the children do communicate with their sponsor as to how they are getting on.  Mercy in Action also sends ‘Christmas Shoe Boxes’ out each year.  Beth showed us a picture of all the children holding their boxes, grinning from ear to ear.

This is a truly inspirational charity.  We were very lucky that Beth was able to come and raise awareness about Mercy in Action.  I must admit I can feel a shoe box coming on this Christmas!  So, if you need further information about sponsoring a child, exactly where the warehouse is, volunteering at a charity shop or joining in with the Ladies Challenge, or even just making an ‘old fashioned’ donation, then do please contact Beth directly using any of the details below:

e: b.hockley@mercyinaction.org.uk p: 01125 443600  a: Jubilee Centre. Lower Bristol Rd, Bath, BA2 9ES

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