We were expecting a quiet evening with it being so hot and England playing tonight, but we still had 46 clients through the doors.
The food on the menu this evening was curry, rice, poppadum’s and potato salad. It all went down very well. The potato salad is a regular now as it is so popular. We had so much food donated this week the fridge was full as were 4 additional tables. There was plenty for clients to take home with them too. We rely heavily on all donations from local supermarkets such as Waitrose, Tesco and Lidl. Prett and Greggs donate every week supplying us with food for clients to take home. For safety reasons if the food is not refrigerated it has to be eaten that same evening. The street homeless know this so often eat a lot during the session itself. We get quite a lot of potatoes and eggs donated too.
Omega 3 from the eggs is excellent for helping with mental health. A healthy rich diet in Omega 3 and Vitamins and minerals are essential for people who are vulnerable. Thiamin commonly known as vitamin B1 is essential in the diet for chronic drinkers. The human body itself cannot produce thiamin which is why it must be ingested through a healthy diet. Since chronic drinkers tend to drink rather than eat they often suffer from malnutrition and consume too little thiamin a day. Alcohol damage reduces the liver’s thiamine holding capacity. This is a progressive reduction As damage worsens, thiamine capacity declines. Thiamine deficiency is dangerous. Chronic thiamine deficiency can cause biochemical changes in the brain and Wernicke’s encephalopathy. If Wernicke’s goes untreated, it can cause the structural lesions and permanent brain damage of Korsakoff syndrome (also known as wet brain) which is a permanent condition of memory loss and amnesia.
On Best Behaviour
One of our regular clients that we have helped in the past came in quite wound up with a letter thinking it was an eviction notice. Sue our volunteer who is a Community Police Officer through work knows all of the clients well and they trust her sat down and went through it carefully. She was able to explain that this was not the case. A complaint has been made against our client and she needs to be on her best behaviour. She struggles with her reading, processing and decision making so someone taking the time to explain the letter to her was just what she needed. She admitted that she gets really loud when she has been drinking and this is probably what the problem is. We have helped in the past to avoid eviction with the help of a solicitor who can help with legal aid. We work hard with our clients to explain consequences and actions, always talking through situations with them hopefully defusing problems and avoiding situations that may arise causing serious issues. Eviction and therefore homelessness for example.
One of our clients who we have been working with for a while turned up very intoxicated. There was every possibility of him becoming argumentative. Sue again talked to him which calmed him down. He headed off to the pub to watch the football. Hopefully he behaved himself.
Lorna sat and played cards with one of of lovely regulars who is due in court tomorrow. Fingers crossed for him. He has been trying really hard to work on his mental health it would be such a shame to see it all undone. Volunteering at the Soup Kitchen you get to know the clients really well. Over time they start to trust and establish relationships with certain volunteers. Lorna has been playing card when she comes in and together they have been learning new card games Lorna even lent him a book so he could go away and practice. They are actually getting really good. Letters of support have been written to the court so we hope it will help his situation. Some people engage more outside the prison system. Vulnerable adults with mental health issues often deteriorates in prison, with support from probation, voluntary organisations such as the Soup Kitchen and Eight Bells and the CRISIS team people can rebuild their lives in a positive way.
One of our clients who comes in each week is dual diagnosis (drug/alcohol and mental health) was in a very sorry state this evening. She has stopped engaging with Swanswell and hasn’t been home for several days. She ate well, was shown love and kindness. That sometimes that is all we can do. I hope she will find the strength to start seeking help again soon.
Dual diagnosis is something that statutory organisations are starting to recognise is a complex issue that needs treating together not in parallel. In the past Mental Health and drug/alcohol services did not communicate with each other. Also it was common for someone to be refused counselling unless they were clean from drugs and alcohol. It’s a chicken and egg situation. Most people take drugs and drink alcohol because they have had trauma in their lives. The counselling in a huge part of rehabilitation.
Your World Can Change
Sandra sat with a new couple this evening. They lost their jobs three weeks ago, which came with accommodation. They both have a complicated array of health and medical issues. They are currently wayfaring at Two Saints and hoping to move into a double room there soon. Wayfaring is an arrangement that Two Saints offer. A person sleeps at the hostel but has to be out during the day. They are offered breakfast and a bed. A stark reminder of how quickly someone’s whole world can change. They seemed to enjoy the food, welcome and conversation.
Loss Of Storage Space
Unfortunately we have lost our storage space and need to be out of there by 1st July. Mai-Britt has been working hard to get everything sorted and the freezer out of there before the 1st. Unfortunately we cannot take the freezer to the recycling centre as our vehicle is over two metres. For now it will be stored in a volunteers garage until we have a solution.
Donations Still Needed
Donations have dried up as the weather is so good. We are still desperate for rucksacks, head torches and bike locks. We have a wish list on Amazon which is easy to access. Donations can also be accepted and dropped off at the Salvation Army Hall when the Soup Kitchen is open Thursdays preferably 4.30pm-5.30pm. The session is open 6.00pm-8.00pm. We cannot help our clients in the way we do without donations from the public. Thank you for your continued support and compassion. Life can take a turn in the wrong direction for anyone. The Soup Kitchen is an eye opener to what that direction can mean.