Our chaplaincy gives significant support to a number of charities that reflect our Christian love for all people, both near and far, and our understanding of Christian mission in our world.
We are privileged to have some long-standing relationships with some of these causes that have been forged over many years with love and commitment, though we also use our regular and other special collections during our worship to support a large number of other charitable groups or to provide emergency charitable aid.
Amala, South India
Since 2003, the children’s home in Amala, Tamil Nadu, South India, has received our support and through personal sacrifice and generous giving, now provides a high-quality education; food, medical services and accommodation for up to six hundred children in one of the very neediest and disadvantaged regions of the country. There are now teachers in the school who were themselves first educated there and who are giving back their gifts to the benefit of others, ensuring that the children of this place do not drift into cities, where their only chance of survival is to beg, thieve or be taken into bonded labour or prostitution.
The interval donations at all our operatic concerts, courtesy of St Mark’s Opera, go directly and entirely to Amala, as does a third of our gift aid. This project, begun in 1996 by Kim Pollit, has both saved and enabled many lives over the years and continues to enrich society with the benefits of good education and the basic necessities of life.
If you would like to know more about the Amala Children’s Home, then go to their website at www.amalatrust.org. Thank you.
Tree of Life Project, Masuku, Malawi
The Tree of Life Project is a community-based development programme in rural Malawi. Over a number of years, our financial support has been a catalyst to self-help and has contributed to the development of education, medical provision, farming and manufacturing industry. The community is motivated by our financial assistance and this has also helped to build a church and provide a safe and reliable water supply.
This project is one that is being considered by many other communities throughout the region as a model for sustained and environmentally-friendly development and receives another third of our gift aid each year.
You can find more about the amazing things happening in this community at www.masukutreeoflife.org
Comunita di Sant’ Egidio
This charity is an International one that champions human rights and dignity, but in its forty-five years of existence in Italy, has never forgotten its roots as a Christian foundation committed to giving support and practical help to the homeless.
Homelessness is a problem everywhere, but particularly in a city like Florence which attracts so many from less fortunate backgrounds, to which are added many Italian nationals who are experiencing severe privation in the current economic climate.
Through its many volunteers and supporters, the Comunita provides meal boxes (a full dinner) and delivers over 150 of these every day to where they are most needed. It also provides advice and help in terms of medical and social provision.
We currently give a sixth of our gift aid to this cause and also many of our Sunday collections (most notably our Harvest Thanksgiving), but also operate a constant giving programme through donation baskets in St Mark’s Church. The following items greatly assist in the provision of food and can be brought to our church at any time:
- Small Packets of Biscuits
- Tinned Tomatoes
- Tinned Tuna
- Long Life Milk
- Cooking Oil
- Baby Food
- Tinned Beans
- Tinned Vegetables
- Packets of Coffee
If you would like to know more about the Comunita di Sant’ Egidio, then please contact us or go to their own website: www.santegidio.org
The British Institute
This UK Registered Charity has existed historically to provide facilities for English-speakers in Florence but now has a significant community role through its own cultural programme and the provision of the Harold Acton Library. It receives no Government or State Funding and relies entirely on its library membership and those who use its excellent courses in Italian, English and History of Art to maintain its presence in the City.
Located very near to St Mark’s Church, the two institutions have been intimately connected for the whole of their existence and often have joint community or cultural events.
The British Institute receives a sixth of our gift aid and is an important resource for all English-speakers who find themselves in Florence. Like St Mark’s, it is also a ‘sign-post’ for those in difficulty whilst here and can point people to various means of assistance.
If you would like to know more about the British Institute’s role and events in Florence, then please visit their website: www.britishinstitute.it
Finally. . .
There are many ways in which you can get involved in our charitable work, but also please see How to Donate or use the online form or other contact details to get in touch.