Another very hot night. Not so busy as other weeks, perhaps the heat kept people away. However we still welcomed 40 clients in through the door.
Loads of goodies from the supermarkets, Pret and Greggs this week. We had plenty so took cakes to Mencap next door as we had lots left over they were so pleased. Jan’s special of jacket potatoes with bolognese sauce was accompanied homemade potato salad. As we mentioned last week, the supermarkets donate quite a lot of eggs and potatoes. The potato salad is very popular and very healthy. Adding the eggs provides Omega 3 in the diet of the people who eat it.
One of our regular clients had his birthday this week. We try to find out when a persons birthday is if they are willing to tell us. We sing Happy Birthday and provide a cake and candles. The cakes are donated, so depending on size we share it around to everyone else. For some of our clients it is the only recognition of their birthday it is. They have no family or are completely estranged from their family. This week we had sparkler candles too, everyone sings and claps. It is a lovely moment in the Soup Kitchen.
Being A Female And Homeless
We had a new female client this evening. She has broken up with her partner resulting in her recently become homeless. She has pitched her tent near some of our more established homeless for the time being. One in particular always takes a new person under his wing and looks after them. She is reluctant to go to a hostel because they wont let her take her cat with her. She enjoyed some food and took some with her along with a flask, water carrier, shower token etc.
She said she is dreading next week because she has no idea how she is going to manage her menstrual cycle in a tent. We gave her the necessaries plus bags, baby wipes and hand sanitiser. I know some of you won’t want to be reading about a lady’s time of the month, but we have decided to share because for us, it was another eye opener of the day to day struggles and worries of the female homeless community.
There are now approximately 8 homeless women in Newbury. We are also aware of four other females who are teetering on homelessness. The ratio of homelessness between men and women is always higher for men. Everyone is vulnerable, scared, sad and lonely. We help where we can, when we can. Building on our outreach services, we provide and the help of people like Julia from SEAP who comes in fortnightly and helps so many people.
New Bike Welcomed
This evening we have organised a bike for one of our homeless men with thanks from The Community Furniture Project. They are a great support to us and we are very grateful. We now looking for a road bike (less available) for one of our ex homeless men who is now working and rides a clunky mountain bike quite a few miles each day to work. We can donate his bike then to someone else. All our bikes can be donated directly to the Community Furniture project as they will check them over for safety and road worthiness.
Dehydration and Sunburn – Supplies Appeal
During this heatwave the street homeless suffer terribly from dehydration and sunburn. We are appealing for water carriers, water bottles, sun screen, aftersun and wet wipes. Our stocks have run out!
Looking For A Cat Lover – Urgent Appeal
Mai-Britt spent some time at the beginning of the session supporting a new client who is Ex Military. He is having such a tough time, his partner is in hospital and he is paying £10.00 a day to a cattery for their beloved pet. The cat is not allowed to stay with him in the temporary hostel accommodation. We have posted an appeal for a kind person to take on his 18 year old cat until this gentleman can find more stable and permanent accommodation. This poor man has PTSD and he needs our support. We will be contacting the British Legion for help also. This old home bound moggie is the only family her and his partner has. He is desperately sad and worried about his cat. He cannot afford the cattery bills as he is on benefits.
Cats and Dogs
Strangely this evening this is one of two clients with the same issue. Many street homeless have dogs but a cat is slightly more difficult to cater for.
A Third New Client
A third new client in tonight. He has recently lost his flat and become homeless. He was very grateful for the compassion, food and help he received. He said he is having suicidal thoughts. He has not taken any of his medications for over a week because they were stolen along with some of his other possessions, including his ID. He is planning on engaging with Eight Bells at the beginning of next week.
Soup Kitchen is available to all who need it, without judgement or prejudice. However, we must stay safe and vigilant. Occasionally clients come in with difficult pasts. We welcome everyone through the door who ever they are. A hot drink and someone to sit and listen to them is often all they need. Our rules are strict however. We have a zero tolerance on bad behaviour and inappropriate attitude towards our volunteers and other service users. That said, we are a happy welcoming place.
Thank you again for your support, we often feel that all we do is ask for help from the public for donations. We are grateful and thankful of every donation we receive.