So many of you have been kind enough to donate through our website and our shop with money, suspended coffees and food so I thought I would let you know, firsthand the difference they make when we take the food and drink that you have supported out to the people who need it most.
Last night I again had the privilege of being part of the Outreach team. Work starts much earlier in the day ensuring that we have all the sandwiches made. Homemade are always the best but that means that all elements need to be purchased and made by the team. Hot chocolate and coffee is also made to go alongside fruit, crisps and chocolate bars and all this is loaded onto the van with extra clothing items, toiletries and also dog food as a few of our homeless friends have dogs and they need to be supported too!
Food supplies - ready to be bagged up and given out.
There are 3 in the team and we set off last night at 19:45. We have a set route that we tend to take where our friends know we will be. As soon as we make a stop we get a small queue - patiently waiting for their bag of food and a hot drink. They are always hungry and so grateful for what they get. It makes me think how many times we say "we're hungry" and just reach for the food we need. These people are really hungry and just don't have that option which in this day and age is terribly sad.
Cups ready to be filled with hot drinks with the lovely messages sent with your kind donations.
Each of the hot drinks has a sleeve with one of the lovely messages that you have sent with your donations. Many cannot believe that people give donations to help them. One asked last night ask why we give up our time to help them? It's simple - because we care. He was just so grateful that we do!
The other thing we offer is conversation - many on the streets are ignored. Through working in the shop and in the team we know most of them by name and its nice to have a chat with them, check they are ok and if we can contact any of the other support services for them. This is just as an important part of the service as the food and drink is but costs nothing.
As we move round Chester we look out for those who may be even more isolated and on their own to ensure that no-one misses out. We finish around 10pm and in all we made 7 stops last night and served 24 people - oh and 3 very happy dogs!. Even in August it makes you realise that nights are drawing in and it can still be very cold and wet on a night (as we have seen this summer) and this is only going to get worse as they year progresses.
We are very aware that without your help we could not support the vulnerable people we do so I want to thank you personally on behalf of the team and those who benefit from your generosity. If you have £2 to spare and would like to put it to really good use please consider buying a hot drink or some food to help those who need it - either at the shop or via this link:
Thank you - Claire