Thursday, 27 November 2008


The true spirit of Christmas?
This year it’s been taken literally by 25 year old Matthew Meyritz (Matt) who is organising a Christmas meal for the homeless in Canterbury, inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food.

On 1st December homeless and drifters will be welcome at St Peters Hall for warm drinks, food, and to enjoy the evening which will include a quire’s music.

Market crisis for who?
The market crisis is leaving the majority of the people filing the streets sorry for themselves, because they won’t be buying as many Christmas gifts as usual. But as Matt reminds, does anyone step back and realise there are some who don’t have the luxury of being affected by it at all because they are already at rock bottom?

“I hope to achieve a level of awareness for the people who have very little to nothing at all at Christmas and through out the year. I would like to make people try to pass on this idea around the country if not the world”, he says.

Pub Chef inspired by Jamie Oliver
Working as a chef in a local pub, The New Inn in Canterbury, his free time has recently been entirely dedicated to the organisational process of the Christmas meal he intends to give to as many homeless as possible. He can be found running round town between meetings with council, charity and company representatives, and handing out leaflets to beggars, determined to make -what seems the first of many- projects work.

Matt says he was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s venture to encouraging healthier and affordable food habits with his Ministry of Food and Pass It On projects and came up with this ‘spin off’ idea to gather homeless and drifters for a meal together, in collaboration with the Scrine Foundation supporting people in need.

Relying on his own limited economic resources and contagious positivity, he is quickly attracting the attention of people keen to become a part of this special Christmas initiative.

Taking the first step
“One’s just got to do it, and he really is!” Says a friend from the pub. This small whirlwind of events and people has truly inspired a breeze of inspiration in Canterbury reminding how easy it really can be to make a difference and give life to the meaning of what the Christmas spirit should be all about.

When speaking of the many things on his checklist yet to be done before the Christmas meal, his wide open eyes look so serene and happy, it is unbelievable to see with what ease and pragmatism Matt will pull off such a special day for so many.

Matt is surprised at the reaction he has had from friends and others. “Since I started making moves for my idea it’s amazing how many people want to be a part of it. Everyone wants to help”, he says.

It just took someone like Matt to take the first step for others to see how easy it is to do one’s small part for the larger picture, which for Matt, never seems to be too ambitious to be worth attempting. A Facebook group has been set up for anyone who wants to be a part, help out or to donate some money.

What better place than the birth town of British Christianism
The usual Christmas motto of generosity and good intentions this year will not merely resound of shuffling presents and shopping. It looks as though in the cathedral city of Canterbury, this Christmas is truly going to be about giving. With a sparkle in his gaze Matt says:
“I hope this could become a tradition to be repeated every year”.

Directed to the homeless, anyone will be welcome to come along and celebrate the season together. The meals will be free and donations appreciated by those able.

For more info & to donate visit Matt's website