"People can be so apathetic. They continue to ignore the real people trapped in poverty and homelessness. It's almost maddening." - Daphne Zuniga
Tony and Jay were the first to arrive today and had a chat with Tareq and I until Kam arrived with the food.
And what a spread it was. Rubi had prepared a feast fit for a king - Pasta, fruit, popcorn, biscuits and a variety of soft drinks. As always the punters were happy. "You change the chef," said Billy cheekily.
It was good to mingle with the crowd and our homeless friends. Amanda and Rosie weren't there but we had a new face in Jenny. Paul was in a good mood for once and told us that a random stranger had given him £30 after being told by his dad to look after a homeless person. Abdi had three helpings but was beaten to the punch by Jay who had four.
In London 57% of homeless people are aged between 26 and 45 years with 12 per cent under 25 and 10 per cent over 55.
Many have one or more support needs: 43% alcohol; 31% drugs; 46% mental health. The proportion of rough sleepers with no support needs has risen to 28% this year.
"This ones for MI6," laughed Jim as Jay took a happy group snap of all of us. That bought a few hearty and a few nervous chuckles. I noticed quite a few friendly Police officers around, more so than usual and I guessed they were there as a presence to ward off any potential trouble in light of the horrendous and tragic events of yesterday.
The best thing about our soup kitchen is we look forward to meeting our friends. It gets even better when they clearly enjoy having a human level chat and catch up on the latest happenings and gossip. A smile and a chat is the most basic human interaction but remains one of our most potent and powerful characteristics.
We'll dwell on that another day. Now Kam, Tareq and I need to go break our fasts.