Every other Saturday morning I get to spend time with a diverse group of people. I volunteer in what you could call a soup kitchen. We serve breakfast to people who maybe need a bit of support in their day to day lives. Some have problems such as alcohol or drug addictions, homeless or mental health issues. We cook a basic breakfast, beans, tomatoes, tinned ham or corned beef on toast. There is also a choice of cereals, jams and spreads and a hot drink. We also have a clothing store, where our clients can have a bit of “retail therapy”, without the cost of course, and provide toiletries. But just as important, I believe, we offer someone to talk to, without judgement.
I really enjoy working there. Sometimes it can get busy and my feet ache at the end of the morning but you get so much “job” satisfaction. I posted a while ago about a candle one of the ladies brought me and today I got a box of chocolates from another lady to say thank you. I have learnt a lot too, one of the men has travelled all over the world and has marvellous knowledge of where chocolate comes from and different tribes, another shares a similar taste in music to me. Sometimes there can be a bit of trouble but luckily nothing too bad when I’ve been there. You can get attached to people and worry if you don’t see them for a few weeks. One lad who I had a bit of a soft spot for hasn’t been seen for months and unfortunately we don’t know where he is.
I did have a bit of a think about whether to carry on a few weeks ago. I managed to get to my first meeting (they are normally arranged when I am at work) and thought it would be nice to meet the other volunteers’. The meeting left me feeling uneasy. The thing is, that it is run alongside a church. The church kindly lets the organisation rent a room at the back. It is Christian run. What I like is that the mission statement is everyone is welcome regardless of believes. Unfortunately I felt at statement didn’t extend to the volunteers’. I don’t belong to any religious practice but try to lead a good life and help others where I can. I was surprised that prayers where said at the meeting as to me the idea of us gathering was to plan how to move the organisation forward. I also was surprised by the attitude of some of the other teams, they don’t want to actually speak to the clients and are unwelcoming of new volunteers (this was briefly mentioned). It did make me think is this was right for me to do but I have decided to keep going, I hope that in a small way I help make someone’s day that bit more easier and put a smile on their face.