We are aware that Christmas is not always a happy family time for everyone, and that that it can be a very lonely, sad, or emotionally challenging time for many people. This year Cheshire Streetwise provided a full Christmas meal with all the trimmings to 40 people at Elim Church Hall. Those who attended would otherwise be on their own, without company, or would not have had the means to provide themselves with a traditional Christmas Day lunch.
Our Volunteers, turned up and pitched in to ensure that the three course meal provided was cooked up and served in a timely and efficient fashion to all those present. The general feedback was that a good time was had by all, and that the time spent with others in roughly similar circumstances meant that those who came hopefully went away feeling a little more optimistic about what 2016 may hold.
Iain, Maggie's husband, even managed to coax a homeless young man to come away from his spot sat outside of New Look on Mill Street. He was invited to come along and have a hot meal and some companionship. We are aware of how invisible many homeless people are, as well as the many and diverse reasons they have ended up in that situation; and it is not always for the reasons you may think.
Adam (not his real name) is in his 20's, had fallen on hard times, and got behind with his rent and bills as a result of a gambling addition; this had eventually led to increasing debt, and a period of time in jail. Adam was basically looking to get back on his feet, but as with so many of the people we meet and deal with, when you have nothing, it is very hard to get yourself the basic human needs; food, shelter, and a job.
We did offer to help Adam out with his siutation, and we provided an overview of what we do, our contact details, times when we are open and serving food, and a no obligation non judgemental invite to come along and have some help to get back up and running, whatever that might mean for his particular circumstances. He hasnt shown yet, but I am always hopeful.
If Maggie hadn't run out of plastic cutlery, I would never have made the trip to Poundland, or engaged this person in conversation on the spur of the moment having encountered him. It was worth the 15 minute delay in spoons getting to their destination just to see him walk in a few minutes after I returned with supplies. Proof, if it were even needed of the value of what we do.
No one has to be alone, they may chose to be, but that is something quite different.
I like to think we can save the World with one small act of kindness at a time. If this meal meant that Adam got through one more day, it 's all been worth it for that alone, but what about tomorrow, next week, next month?
I dont know who said it, but have to agree with the sentiment of the statement that a civilization will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members. I reckon humanity can do a whole lot better than it does in this regard.