Two weeks ago as part of an event that I ran for my students, 10 of us had one of the most eye opening experiences of our lives.
We volunteered to help a local organisation that serves meals to the homeless and people in need.
For most of us every day we take things for granted, things like fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, a bed and every day items like toothbrushes, toothpaste and even soap.
The head of the organisation spoke to us when we first arrived to help, so that she could prepare us for some of the people that we would meet and also what is really happening out on the streets.
I think every single one of us cried when we heard of a young woman that had just had a baby 3 days before and would be just bouncing from either shelter to shelter or out on the street.
There was a man that was finally getting his life together after many years on the street and was able to get enough money together to have his son visit him for two nights in a motel room after a year of not seeing him. We did meet this man and his son when they both got a haircut!
There were so many stories that broke our hearts hearing them and then meeting the people from these stories just took it to another level.
We were able to help by preparing the meal for that evening, buying some clothing for a man that had nothing, picking up donation items from local businesses, some even went to deliver a food hamper to a single mum with 2 little girls.
The little girls got their hair cut and whilst that was happening the mum mentioned that the girls were starting school next week and she wasn’t able to get their school uniforms off lay-by because of how big the stationery list was for school.
Being sneaky, one of my girls took a photo of that list, we then went and purchased everything on the list and went back to deliver it the girls. The mum was then going to be able to afford to get the uniforms for them and the girls didn’t have to miss out.
For the people that were at the park where the evening meal was being served, we had put together a hamper bag full of necessity items for everyone, sleeping bags, tarps, toiletries, tinned food, socks, snacks and many other things.
The gratitude that we saw from the people that received the hamper and also a hair cut was incredible.
We had a lovely man come up to use just before we were leaving to tell us how this was ‘The best night of his life and thank you so much for doing this for everyone.”
It was incredibly grounding to think about how such a small gesture from those of us that are fortunate to have a skill set to make them feel that good and to provide them with some basic necessities can completely change someones mindset and day.
My wish for our visit to all of those people we met two weeks ago, was that if we could just make some sort of positive impact in their life to show them that people actually do care about them and do want to help them, I would be happy.
There is a massive homelessness issue everywhere and it’s not always for the reasons that you may think. Next time you see someone that may need a helping hand on the street, see if you can offer to buy them a sandwich or a pizza!
You can also reach out to a local organisation and see if you can volunteer and get yourself involved to help. These organisations need as much help as they can get!
Thank you to my group of amazing ladies that got involved with all their heart and soul to help bring a smile to lots of faces on Gratitude Day 2 weeks ago.