Bertie’s Bakery partnered with Boxed Off Belfast to support the Simon Community during Christmas.
The pair joined forces along with a number of other businesses to host a Christmas Movie Night across 21 of the Simon Community’s hostels, bringing festive cheer to around 400 of the charity’s clients.
Each participating hostel received a gift box full of treats and goods supplied by businesses from across Northern Ireland and put together by Boxed Off Belfast so that in light of all the restrictions service users can still join in the festivities in a safe and socially-distanced way.
Boxed Off Belfast is a unique service, allowing customers to order and send a range of themed or customised gift packages which support local businesses and take the hassle out of shopping for the perfect gift hamper.
Andy Brown, who founded the online service, said he had always been troubled by the increasing number of homeless people living in Northern Ireland and therefore wanted to do something to raise awareness about the problem.
“Christmas is a time when families come together and celebrate and while we are all impacted by the restrictions this year, we’re still in a much more fortunate position than those experiencing homelessness this Christmas.
“It may only be a small thing but I wanted to put together something special so that clients using the Simon Community’s services this Christmas can have an enjoyable evening in what may otherwise be a tough time for many.
“I’m so grateful to all of the local businesses, including Brian and his team from Bertie’s Bakery, for donating their produce to the boxes and for giving up their time to help us pack and distribute the gifts.
“We had a wonderful evening and I hope this is something we can continue to offer in the years ahead and work together to help those in need.”
Brian McErlain, who founded Bertie’s Bakery earlier this year, agreed that it was important to give something back, not just at Christmas but all year round.
“We founded Bertie’s Bakery back in March of this year and feel so grateful to everyone who has supported us throughout our first year.
“It is only right then that we do something to give back to the local community so when Andy approached us about supporting his idea, I was only too happy to come on board.
“The events were a huge success and it was a great experience to be able to see the boxes being delivered and the difference they made.
“It has been a great introduction to the important work carried out by the Simon Community all year round and stark reminder of what is really important at this time of year.”
Along with delivering gifts, Andy has also set up a just giving donation page which has helped raise some much needed funds for the Simon Community.
Donations can still be made with all money raised going directly to the charity.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.