LONDON – Young people have turned out in force this week to help victims of the looting and violence in London and other English cities this week.
Youth for Christ centers have been busy coordinating responses in their area, giving out food, clothes and support to those who have lost their homes, possessions or loved ones.
The organization stressed that although unrest, wanton destruction and criminality were on the rise, there were also many young people making a positive difference by helping to galvanize and even lead clean-up operations across England.
YFC center leaders have testified to the remarkable “can-do” attitude, enthusiasm and energy displayed by many young people helping out in recent days.
In London, Croydon YFC has been distributing food and clothes to victims who were forced out of their homes because of the fires.
Center director Naomi George said, “Even though on Monday night pictures shown on the news were of young people looting, setting fires and vandalizing, it is the complete opposite picture that is being lived out by young people off camera.”
The youths have been involved in cleaning up the mess on the streets, baking muffins and cookies for emergency service personnel, and visiting people in their communities.
“We have had a steady stream of young people coming to donate their stuff for those families that have lost it all as well as some volunteering to sort through the bags and petition for more donations to be made,” said George.
“It has been excellent to see young people in Croydon make such a positive impact on their community.”
YFC was in Birmingham in the aftermath of looting and destruction there to help clean shops, sweep up debris and pray with affected shopkeepers.
Gavin Calver, national director of YFC, said it was important to acknowledge the incredible impact these young people are having on their local communities.
“As Youth for Christ, we are proud to see so many young people passionately living for Christ and praying, serving and supporting those affected by the riots in British cities,” he said.
With the spotlight thrown on British young people, Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a group of youngsters at Downing Street yesterday, where they highlighted a new campaign, Not in My Name, in which young people are taking a united stand against violence.