We definitely had a change of atmosphere and attendance with the change of the weather this week. The quietest session in a long time, only 38 people. Or perhaps maybe because the word has gotten around that Jan was on holiday and Meryl was doing the cooking! A couple of volunteers went over to Meryl’s and together they peeled and chopped a mere 18kg of donated apples. For over 3 hours and they did not stop. As a result, tonight we enjoyed turkey pie with leeks and mushrooms with a mashed topping, garlic bread and apple crumble and custard. A huge amount of food was consumed.
We had two birthdays this week. We are pleased to see people smile. Quite a few of our clients do not have relations with family and find it very hard on birthdays as they often receive little or nothing from family members. Special dates can be very lonely and it can make a person feel more unwanted by society, vulnerable and very sad. We try when we can to acknowledge birthdays with a cake, candle and rubbish singing!
A man came in tonight with another injury on his face. It is often difficult to establish what has happened to someone. We, unfortunately, get the “I walked into a door” routine. Sometimes vulnerable people get bullied and regularly have marks. Unless we are told what has happened, it is very difficult to ascertain whether it is self-harm, accidental or physical assault of some kind. Some clients like to make up stories of their lives and tell us wonderful stories of jobs, holidays or trips they have been on during the week. To them it is real, to them it makes them feel important and less worthless in society. We like to sit and listen in a non-judgemental way. It can put us in a quandary of what to do and what to believe.
The client that we had in last week who had to sit outside as a result of his schizophrenia came in this evening, still twitchy but generally much calmer. He did eat and we gave him a towel and shower token. He apologised for his behaviour last week, but said he was struggling so much. He still finds the noise in the Soup Kitchen daunting as it can get very busy. He did choose to come in for a bit so he was feeling less anxious than last week. We welcome everyone and do our best to accommodate people as much as possible.
Water Barrel Donation
In last week’s report, we mentioned the need for a large water barrel for the homeless campsite. This was published on Saturday morning. The water barrel on the Wish List was purchased within a very short period of time. It has been an anonymous donation. Meryl sat with one of the men from the camp this evening and she wrote down what he wanted to say in way of a thank you. Hopefully, they will take a photo for us to publish here with their short write up of how the little things matter. He also wanted everyone to know how much he appreciates everything we do and is also aware a lot goes on behind the scenes.
Our new hairdresser has done her first shift this evening. She was brilliant and had a few people a little “worse for wear”. One of our older men looked so different without his beard. He said now he thought he looked like Tom Cruise! Spending a little bit of time with someone and the fact that someone is taking that time to spend on them personally goes a long way making them feel valued and better in themselves.
Respect, Consequences And Actions
We have a lovely client who comes in most weeks who stayed over the park this evening as apparently was a “little under the weather”, that is what we were told with a cheeky wink from another man who came with a message for us. The message was to ask for something to eat. He didn’t want to come in himself as he didn’t want to disrupt or be a nuisance. That was a huge improvement from winter last year as he would turn up whatever state he was in as he drinks often. One of our lovely volunteers from the kitchen, even cooked a few hotdog sausages for his dog. It is lovely to see that our clients do respect and think of the Soup kitchen and are aware of their actions and the possible consequences of their actions. We talk a lot with the people that come in about the consequences and actions, we have rules and they have adhered to most of the time.
Boxer Shorts Appeal
We are now out of boxer shorts. We were asked three times this evening. We are in need of M, L and XL sizes please.
Meryl says she does tend to have a habit of repeating herself. She is always so touched and impressed with how everyone works together in a kind and compassionate way both to our lovely clients and each other. She is really humbled with each and every one of the Soup Kitchen team for their commitment to the Soup Kitchen.