Georgia helps to spread some festive cheer

Georgia Abernethy.
Georgia Abernethy.

A kind-hearted Lisburn student who took to the streets of Belfast on Saturday to give out food and clothing to homeless people has thanked everyone who backed her effort to spread some festive cheer.

Local people have proved that it really is the season of goodwill by rallying to support 20-year-old Georgia Abernethy in her bid to give a helping hand to those who’ve found themselves living on the streets this Christmas.

After details of her plans to help the homeless were published by the Ulster Star and News Letter earlier this month, the Queen’s University student was inundated with generous donations and offers of help.

“The response was amazing,” she said. “I got lots of donations through the Go Fund Me page (which far exceeded its target) and was able to buy loads of food and toiletries. A lot of people donated clothes and sleeping bags and other people helped me make food. A local hairdresser, Ashleigh Jackson, even contacted me to say she would come out with me and offer to cut people’s hair. It was brilliant.

“I was so surprised by the response. I thought I was going to raise a tiny bit of money and get a few coats donated, but I got so much stuff, it was incredible.”

The former Laurelhill Community College pupil is passionate about helping people who’ve found themselves living on the streets.

Five years ago she and her family found themselves homeless. Thankfully they were offered accommodation by a relative, but Georgia knows many others aren’t so fortunate.

On Saturday afternoon Georgia and Ashleigh loaded up their cars with food, toiletries, clothing, blankets and other items and took them to the soup kitchen at St Patrick’s Church, Donegall Street. They then took to the streets with the church’s outreach team that evening, speaking to homeless people and offering them food, items of clothing and even haircuts.

“It was really successful. The people we talked to were just so grateful. They just wanted to have a bit of a chat and a laugh. It was really nice and I would like to be able to do something similar again next year at some point,” Georgia continued.

The final year Mental Health Nursing degree student, who also works part-time as a care assistant, expressed her thanks to Ashleigh Jackson, as well as Margaret Geehan, Eoin Geehan, Liz Hughes and Aoife Hughes for all their help. She also expressed her gratitude to everyone who kindly donated money, clothing and other items.

“I can’t believe the response I got. People have been very generous and I would just like to say thank you to everyone who supported me,” she added.

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