October 2014: Newsletter

Dear friends and supporters.

It's been a long while since we last wrote so it's time to share with you all our news both happy and sad and our plans for the future.

It is with great sadness we report that our friend Ibi Simeoni passed away in April this year: Ibi had been suffering with cancer and you may remember I wrote about her treatment in the last newsletter comparing it to my father's treatment in the UK (be thankful for the NHS). Hands of Hope have been involved with Ibi and her family from our earliest days in Romania and she ran our 'cantina' for a number of years providing hot food for vulnerable people. More than that she became our friend and was always there to help us practically when we visited. We shared many memorable meals with Ibi and the family and it's very hard to believe she's no longer there. I can't believe I can no longer call in and have a coffee with her. Ibi we love and miss you, rest in peace.

On a joyful note Ibi's daughter Iulianna got married at the end of September; it's just sad Ibi wasn’t present to enjoy this special occasion. I was there along with Sarah to support Iulie on her special day. We say, 'Casa de piatra' (meaning 'have a strong marriage') a traditional Romanian blessing given to newlyweds.

So, to other news. The distribution of the food parcels continues to the widows and widowers and to other poor families in and around Jibou in desperate need. We are continually thankful to the tireless work completed by Victor and Nadia in doing this and their continual willingness to serve others. Solomon and Rodica still help with the food parcels in the Roma community in Jibou. As you will know, Hands of Hope continues to financially support a supply of water to Solomon and Rodica's home that is used by them and others in their community; just imagine what it would be like not to be able to turn a tap on and get clean fresh water; that's the reality for many children and older people in that community. Your continued support is vital.

I know it's only just Autumn but our thoughts turn towards Christmas as traditionally Hands of Hope have worked (by that I mean Jean and her team) to prepare gifts in shoeboxes for children who otherwise in many cases would not receive a gift at Christmas. We have done this over a number of years and this year we have decided to implement a change: rather than send boxes over which does cost in the region of £600 just for transport, we want to actually buy the items in Romania and distribute them at school, church, etc. In this way we can help more children have something for Christmas. We have estimated that £2 can buy a small gift for a child: this would be a bar of chocolate, some fruit and some biscuits. To many of us here £2 is the price of a coffee in the mornings. It is my plan to go over to Romania in the second week of December to work alongside Victor and Nadia and Solomon and Rodica to undertake this task. I am also looking for volunteers who would like the chance to come along and find out a bit more about us as a charity for the adventurous of you out there! Please get in touch if you are interested although please understand we do 'vet' people in accordance with our child protection policy and you will have to have DBS checks, etc.

We are all in financially hard times and it's no different for us as a charity. One way you can help us without even having to spend any money is through Easyfundraising. Easyfundraising.org.uk is an easy way to raise money for Hands Of Hope Romania. Shop with any of over 2,700 retailers and a percentage of what you spend is donated to Hands Of Hope Romania at no additional cost to you. Retailers include Amazon, John Lewis, eBay, Tesco and many more. Please register to support us today - http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/handsofhoperomania

We rely on your support not just financial to be able to operate Hands of Hope: if there is anyway you can assist be that fundraising, financial management, publicity, prayer support, publishing or any other service, please get in touch. We are indebted to Raw, a creative design agency in Manchester who have recently redesigned our website free of charge to help us be more effective as a charity. Check it out at handsofhoperomania.org.uk

Thanks once again for all your support and please think about donating £2 for Christmas: We want to provide gifts for approximately 600 children so that's £1200 we need to raise!

Karen - on behalf of the Hands of Hope Team