Packages of Hope for the Homeless
🙃 Everybody is often struggling with something, it's part of being human I guess... So it was nice to work through our inner struggles together and top-up on our love and kindness levels with meditation, gratitude and self-compassion and then give it out, spreading the love to others!
🙏 We feel really blessed for the gift of being placed in the UK's largest homeless hostel (by chance/luck/magic) and getting to work closely with formerly homeless people. They've inspired ideas of hope, support and encouragement that we'd love to share, so collectivity together we can support the homeless.
💙 Often we feel sad and conflicted when we pass homeless people, but can feel unsure how best to help and support... Which is completely understandable as nobody really guides us/suggests what to do.
🌸 The feedback yesterday was that everybody involved had felt called to support the homeless more, but it's tricky knowing where to start or what to do, which is totally understandable.
💡From speaking to the homeless, former homeless and yesterday's feedback, the reflections that were passed on we found really insightful...🤔
🙏 To simply stop, ask them their name, shake their hand and get down to their level helps them feel human again as that's one of their biggest inner struggles. Often they are battling not only with mental health challenges, but feelings of shame and worthlessness, so the more we can connect on a human-to-human level is really supportive.
❤️ Asking if they'd like anything to eat or drink helps to let them know somebody cares and can be better than giving money as you know the food and drink is going to good use.
💜 If you don't feel totally comfortable at first, that's totally natural. Going in pairs helps, but best to avoid big groups so it's not too overwhelming :-)
💛 Yesterday we went in pairs or 3's, asked them their name, shook their hand and said we have a gift bag for them with food, toiletries, underwear, socks, chocolate, energy bars, a book - and there was a card in there too :-)
💌 The card read 'Dear friend, Just to let you know that somebody cares. With love, a friend' along with other messages of hope, support, love and encouragement.
💜 Everybody involved yesterday felt moved to continue with the project in their local area and recommended sharing our experiences yesterday so others can do the same if they feel called too.
❤️ It's good to note that the responses from the homeless were mixed. The majority were overwhelmed with gratitude. One man cried and said he'd been so lonely and it was the first time anybody had stopped and asked his name in a really long time. He was grateful for the gift bag but mostly the conversation and human connection.
😊 A family of 6 refugees were really moved, which really touched our hearts. There were also people on their own that didn't know how to receive the gift and seemed a little confused - their sadness and suffering was hard to see.
🌺 Whatever the reactions, we found it helpful to let go of expectations, knowing our intentions were in the right place and hopefully if it made a difference to just one person, it was a worthwhile project.
💚 Being in the homeless hostel has opened our eyes and hearts to just how easy it is to become homeless. The majority have come from challenging upbringings with parents being unstable and suffering with poor mental health, drug or alcohol challenges. They too go on to have similar challenges, teamed with trauma from a challenging upbringing and go on to self-medicate and block out the pain as best they can (as there's little other support available), which then lead them to homelessness.
💖 The beautiful messages the former homeless have shared is: never let go of hope. The more we can all help them with that, show care as best we can when we pass by, even if we can't offer any food, drink or money, just to stop and show you care with a little chat, goes a really long way.
🌎 We don't always have to do big gestures to make a difference, it can be these small acts with great love that help to transform the world🙏
🙏 Deep gratitude to our ServiceSpace family for inspiring this project, to the former homeless people that fed into it giving us ideas, to everybody who donated items and for all the kindness and willingness people put into yesterday! It's a day we'll all remember and hold in our hearts forever!