Every year from January to March we run our Cold Weather Shelter as part of the C4WS project.
Together with 6 other churches, we provide shelter, food, company and entertainment for a group of people who are homeless and referred to us by the C4WS project. Each church provides one night of the week – our night is Mondays.
We cook and serve a hot dinner, provide warm beds, show a film, sit and chat, play boardgames or whatever the guests wish, and then in the morning there is a cooked breakfast to set them up for the day.
As a volunteer, I have felt blessed by the opportunity to get to know our guests, to share meals and conversation with them, and to be part of the work of the project, which aims to find secure accomodation and the opportunity to get back on their feet when life has knocked them down. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and it is often hard to tell the volunteers from the guests!
It is wonderful how many people the project helps – it is sad to see familiar faces go but joyful to know that this means they have found somewhere secure to live! And in so many other ways, the project helps them to access the right kind of help. It’s not just a bed and meal, but the chance to be able to support themselves again.
There are many ways in which you can help in this ministry, either by volunteering for evening, overnight or morning shifts – cooking, serving, setting up or clearing away the beds and dining areas, it all needs willing hands – or by donating those important but necessary itmes that we can often take for granted – toothbrushes, sanitary products, notebooks and pens, rucksacks (they do wear out!), socks, nail brushes, flannels etc etc. Even just empty takeaway boxes so that they can take some sausages for their lunch! In this case Tescos is right – every little does help!
If you are interested in finding out more about this ministry then please speak to Jen Ferguson at Church or email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0844 335 0507 and leave your contact details.