Saturday, May 02, 2015

Hugs, back-slaps & love is all around!

"My soul does not find mercy -
Somewhere on the bank of oblivion;
Where hunger freezes my bones to death."

Kristian Goldmund Aumann

And so Kam and I paid our scheduled visit to Westfield in Stratford City for our One Third Soup Kitchen shift.

Today, right from the off, we were mobbed by a group of twelve homeless guests who sat in front of the Stratford Centre in anticipation of our table and food pots being set up and laid out.

Although I'd like to think our popularity was because of Kam's classy presence or my personally initialed football coaches top, I have to blame it all on the aroma of the delicious feast we had in the pots courtesy of Nazia.

Pat was first on the scene. He's originally from Canning Town. He asked for several hugs. "You don't know what a hug means to me," he said and added: "It goes a long way. "I've suffered a recent loss in my family and I feel like I want to end it all." He pointed at my fellow shift partner Kam; "Thank you for this, the food you people serve is a Godsend and I can't thank you enough. I will always protect you because you're all practically family." 

Our chat with Pat made me think and I now have a poser for readers of this blog - Exactly what does society expect a homeless person to look like?

I honestly thought Pat with his wiry build would try lift me onto his slight shoulders and we shared a cheeky chuckle as I told him he didn't need to add permanent backache to his list of woes. 

Roy was next. "I've been homeless for five days," he said. "I'm ill, cold and hungry," he told Kam and me. Roy had two big plates and thanked us so much I had to tell him to stop in the politest way possible. Bless him!

The food was delicious and the silence from our ravenous patrons was enough to give an accurate indication of their contentment. "Delicious and amazing," shouted Petr as he had a big second helping.

I told Pat, Billy, Anjali, Mia and the rest of the crew that our colleague Nazia had provided the food and I would pass on their kind comments. "Thank you Nazia," said Mary.

As we posed for a group picture Billy shouted cheekily: "David Cameron's modern day Britain." That really bought the house down.

In all, we served around 35 people before the contents of the pot ran out with the last hungry visitor. At this point we usually clean up pronto and beat a hasty retreat after saying goodbye to our friends, mainly in order to avoid having to say non to a disappointed late guest who turns up with the pot all shiny and empty.

We are a really happy go lucky bunch and fund this all ourselves so if any readers would like to volunteer or provide a pot of food then please feel welcome to get in touch.

No comments: