London - Victoria - Soup Kitchen & more
Wednesday's Outreach was undertaken after considerable thought after the attack on Westminster earlier in the day.... so before we set off, we made sure our volunteers had hi-vis vests on, and there were strict instructions to all stay together. Thank you Jacqui, Aaron, Sammy & Grant for helping.
There were less public, more police and lots of homeless people.
We had hot pies, jacket potatoes, fresh tomato soup, fresh sausage rolls and lots of goodies on board the trolley.
There was a steady stream of people at our first stop - the hot food went down a treat - and everyone was offered a cold takeaway bag (thanks to an amazing food donation from City Harvest). Socks, underwear and toiletries were distributed while everyone chatted about the days earlier events... several new faces wanted sleeping bags - one of our homeless friends said he'd seen them all huddled under one duvet the night before
One gentleman, who had been stand-offish the previous week took me to one side to apologise - we all have crappy days, and get annoyed at whoever is nearest, so we never take it personally or allow an isolated incident of rudeness to affect the assistance we offer - he'd just received some awful news regarding his health - this man was released from prison on to the street last year, we met him the first day he was released, when he was full of hope of a new life and the promises certain agencies had made to him - 4 months later he is still on the streets with a serious medical condition
As we moved on to our second stop the heavens opened!!
There were several new people..mostly bedded down so we offered waitress service - it was cold and they were huddled under blankets, so we handed out new bedding too. More hot food, and essentials were distributed
Food bags and essential kits were handed out as we continued our rounds - we saw more new faces and were able to signpost them to various agencies.. at one place 3 people, sleeping, were crammed in a doorway under one duvet.
At one place, where we usually see one person there were 6 people sleeping - we quietly left essentials kits.
We saw more than 60 people
On Tuesday evening we were invited to "Pitch a proposal" at The Soup Project in Victoria - up against 3 other groups (one being an incredibly cute 7 yearold) we highlighted the work we do in Victoria - Soup Kitchen, emergency call outs, weekly "Food Bank" (made possible by City Harvest), almost daily food parcel drops.....and we WON!! Big thanks to Aaron for putting a video together of our outreach, the guys at Smallworks for putting on the event, plus the people who voted for us and all Jennifer at The William Gibbs Community Centre who suggested we enter. The money we won will be put to buying new equipment for our outreach, and food distribution, plus getting leaflets printed to advertise our services in SW1..
Mike Smith..you are a bloody star. 🌟