We had 47 people in tonight; we were extremely busy at the beginning of the session, 45 people in 45 minutes.
On the menu this evening we had Pumpkin Soup, Chilli con Carne with rice, Broccoli, Potato Salad and Apple and Berry Crumble with Custard. There was a lot of Chilli so many people took food away with them too.
We have had a few new faces in this evening. People who have recently found themselves homeless. People become homeless for lots of different reasons. There are social causes of homelessness, such as a lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment; and life events which cause individuals to become homeless.
People can become homeless when they leave prison, care or the army with no home to go to. Many homeless women have escaped a violent relationship.
Many people become homeless because they can no longer afford the rent and Eviction takes place.
And for many, life events like a relationship breaking down, losing a job, mental or physical health problems, or substance misuse can be the trigger. Being homeless can, in turn, make many of these problems even harder to resolve.
Many people we meet have children that they have not seen or who are in care. We hear sad stories each week of relationship breakdowns that cause a huge ripple effect. Estranged relationships put further stress and anxiety on someone that is likely to have mental health issues already.
The Eviction process is also extremely stressful, brutal at times. Often people are unable to represent themselves or they bury their head in the sand. Not opening mail or trying to fight to keep a tenancy.
Many people do not know that they can get a Legal Aid solicitor if they are on benefits. We often help out our clients in this way by signposting people to Legal Support. Often this process STOPS an Eviction. As soon as a person receives an Eviction notice and are on benefits they must contact a Legal Aid Solicitor, this can stop homelessness.
This week Sue our Food Specialist came in and provided for pampering for some of our clients. It is a vocation that many people would not want to do but it gives people such pleasure to have their feet done and to see the improvement of their feet. Sue is kind and caring and lots of laughter and smiles came from the room.
Kate our hairdresser and Sue our Foot Specialist provide such an invaluable service to people who come into the Soup Kitchen.
Tom one of our volunteers is shaving off his beard to raise money for Newbury Soup Kitchen. Please support and donate!
He has even made The Reading Chronicle!
As well as fundraisers such as Tom’s, we are appealing for donations all year round to keep us running in the local community. With the run up to Christmas, we have created our Christmas Wish List (shown right).
You can donate much needed funding through our Just Giving donation page, or support us by purchasing goods through Smile (Amazon) – CLICK HERE – Simply use this link to shop at Amazon and we will receive 0.5% of your order value. Simply use your existing Amazon account and share the benefits !
Whilst we are keen to accept as many donations as offered, this isn’t always possible. Storage limitations, health and hygiene considerations, condition of donations and over-supply of some items, means we must unfortunately refuse some donations.
We must therefore focus on what we DO NEED. This may change seasonally, or perhaps through a sudden change in the weather, but we have to adapt accordingly. Therefore we maintain an Amazon Wishlist to effectively manage we we need at the moment.
A lovely thing happened this evening, a client who many of us have known from rough sleeping one winter he used the night shelter and eventually went to a hostel. He now works but occasionally pops in to say hello. After he left the Soup Kitchen he went into the Globe pub where we have a collection pot on the bar. He put some money into the pot, as he wanted to give something back to Newbury Soup kitchen as a thank you. This person has always worked regardless of his housing situation and even when he was in a tent. This goes some way we hope to expelling the myth that people who are homeless do not try to keep employment down in order to improve their situation.
Enborne School came to Newbury Soup Kitchen in this week. They have collected food for Harvest Festival and donated some of it to us for the third year running.
We have released a Wish list that they followed. This helps ensure we receive donations appropriate to our requirements to ensure maximum support for our clients who come in hungry and cold.
Louise Burns who works at the school with her sons Dexter and Sebastian came in with boxes filled with tinned food and dried produce that can be used in the Soup Kitchen itself on a Thursday or on a Saturday in the Wharf at 4pm when we feed the rough sleepers Soup, Pot Noodles, tea and coffee.
“It is important for the younger generation to learn about the plight of people in our Community less fortunate than our selves. It is lovely to see how Dexter and Sebastian have grown over the last three years that they have donated food to us and their understanding of homelessness increase as we have talked about the Soup Kitchen with them”. Education is key and it is essential for younger people to learn to be compassionate and caring towards people who need support and a helping hand. Donating food like this gives a window into a world that so many people walk past”.
This time of year is difficult for rough sleepers and people who are homeless however it is difficult all year around so we must remember that too. Donations are needed all year around also. Enborne School are very supportive to us and we are very grateful for all the children’s hard work with their collection.