Smiles All Around For The New Bike
Wonderful news this evening. As a result of our recent Facebook appeal for a bike, a push bike was donated for Marcus. He has recently started a job and doing really well. He cannot afford a bike at the moment and this bike will allow him to travel between work and town. Mark picked up the bike for him from a lady in Wash Common this evening.
It is a little small but it is perfect for him and he was really pleased. It brought a smile to his face and also others within his homeless community friends. Others were genuinely pleased for him too. We gave him a lock and he will pop to Halfords for some lights tomorrow as the mornings and evenings are still dark. Marcus is a different man from the tearful one we met in the market place on Christmas morning. His life seems to have turned around and he is desperate to “pay us back”. I said the only payment we wanted was for him to be happy and successful in his job.
Cleaning Job Wanted
Cath sat and had a chat with Lucy this evening. She does not like the Soup Kitchen ambiance at the moment. Like some others, she finds it too noisy and overwhelming at times. Cath sat with her for a bit to discuss work. We are going to try to find her a cleaning job. She cleans now for about 10 hrs a week in the mornings and has been doing that for about 7 years. She would love a school, B&B, or shop cleaning position. Even better, a lovely residential/cleaning position would tick lots of boxes. If anyone has or knows someone who is looking for a reliable and conscientious cleaner, please do get in touch.
No ID Can Cause Problems
We had a new chap in this evening. I sat and talked to him for a while. As usual in this situation he had no ID, which does make it difficult to look for work and get a bank account by example. He refused a tent and sleeping bag, commenting that was accepting his present situation. I have heard that reasoning before. I will liaise with West Berkshire Homeless to see what can be done to help him.
Everybody Always Welcome
A young lady this evening who visited did not want to eat Jan’s amazing Lasagne as she felt she did not deserve it. She is not a rough sleeper as many define as homeless, but she does live in a hostel. So, she is off the street but still vulnerable to homelessness and is of no fixed abode. It took a lot of convincing on our part for her to eat something. She felt undeserving as she has a roof over her head. People in supported housing in our eyes are just as important as other homeless or rough sleepers. Eventually she enjoyed her meal and we were thanked with a simple smile.
New and Old Faces
Before the session opened this evening, a lovely man popped in to see us. Before Christmas he purchased some items on the Amazon Wish List from his heating allowance money that you get when you retire. He said he didn’t need the allowance and wanted to find a good cause to spend it on. Since we first met, we have been communicating and he has purchased a few more bits for us. It is nice for people to see how their donations are used and the people it really does help.
It was great to see Sam come in after a long time. At first we did not recognise him, he looked really well. Anyway, he is now working for the one of the local convenience shops. They donated some food, paid for from the money they had received from the clothes bank bin donations. He stayed for a cup of tea and a chat. It was lovely to see him doing so well. Another success story.
Community and Trust
In closing, working in the Soup Kitchen you regularly see acts of thoughtfulness and kindness when you least expect it. The clients carrying heavy boxes to the car for the volunteers, not wanting to take food from more deserving people, helping out others around them, looking out for each other and making sure the most vulnerable eat first. The Soup Kitchen helps build relationships and trust. That cannot be underestimated.
Footnote: To respect client privacy, aliases are used to replace real names.