Politicians unite to help the homeless
MPs and peers come together for the Parliamentary launch of Mitzvah Day 2019
Politicians from all parties put disputes about Brexit and elections aside to come together in social action and support Mitzvah Day.
MPs and Peers from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, as well as The Independent Group for Change, united for the Parliamentary launch of Mitzvah Day 2019 – making gift bags out of old newspapers and filling them with toiletries to help the homeless.
The launch event marked the start of the month leading up to Mitzvah Day (Sunday 17 November), the UK’s biggest faith-based day of social action. It was organised along with the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Jews.
Those attending the event included the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Theresa Villiers MP and Lord Younger, Minister for Faith and Communities, from the Conservative Party.
They were joined by Labour’s Alex Sobel MP – Chair of the Net Zero Carbon All Party Parliamentary Group – and Wes Streeting MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews, as well as Lord Dholakia, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.
The Parliamentarians were shown how to make the newspaper gift bags by Mitzvah Day chair Laura Marks OBE and Chief Executive Georgina Bye, along with Board of Deputies President Marie Van Der Zyl. The project tied in with Mitzvah Day’s theme for 2019 of Going Greener – which encourages all those taking part to ‘plant, collect, clean and make your project green’.
“Mitzvah Day is great because it demonstrates how committed the Jewish community is, beyond their own community, working with those of other faiths to help our wider society. I’ve seen so many wonderful things involving Jewish groups, Muslim groups, Christian groups and groups of people of no affiliation coming together and getting involved. And the best thing… it’s completely practical. For example, after today, I have now learnt how to make my present wrapping cheaper!” – Lord (Eric) Pickles
All toiletries were donated to The Passage, a Catholic charity which offers a wide range of year-round services to meet the varying and complex needs of homeless and vulnerable people – inspiring them to transform their lives. The charity’s Andrew Hollingsworth told the Parliamentarians’ more about its work.
Other MPs and Peers at the launch included Mike Gapes MP (Change UK), Mike Freer MP (Con), Lord (Eric) Pickles (Con), Ruth Smeeth MP (Lab), Rebecca Harris MP (Con), Fabian Hamilton MP (Lab), Lord Palmer of Childs Hill (Lib Dem), Sir Peter Bottomley MP (Con), Paul Masterton MP (Con), Ian Austin MP (Ind), Stephen Timms MP (Lab) and Yvonne Fovargue MP (Lab).