On the last Friday of each month, a small, but growing, group of people meet in Leeds, West Yorkshire, to help the city’s homeless by providing them with a hot meal, some warm clothes, hygiene items and, very importantly, a few kind words and some simple human interaction. They call themselves “Leeds With The Homeless”.
Today’s image is of the tables set for tonights “Eid With The Homeless” event.
Sarah and I first went on Boxing Day last year to take some items to them. We hadn’t anticipated what we experienced when we arrived at Trinity church. The church, right by the side of the new and impressive shopping mall that bears its name, had a queue of homeless folk patiently waiting to enter. We made our way through them and into the church to leave our donations (scares, hats sweaters – that kind of thing). Inside the church we were met with a beautiful sight.
Tables had been set up and had been beautifully arranged with linen table clothes complete with runners, fishbowls filled with coloured stones and water, candelabra’s and coloured candles. The volunteers we met explained that the church was set up like this at Christmas and the festival of Eid to ensure that the homeless could experience these celebrations in as good a manner as possible and the volunteers serve the homeless as they sit. The food on these two occasions is provided by local firms and restaurants – on other months, it is the volunteers who bring the food themselves.
Other months see food also being distributed to the homeless as the form a line and move along a series of trestle tables form which the volunteers serve the food.
Sarah and I decided to try and come each month to help. It only takes a few hours – we arrive around 6pm and after serving, speaking to the homeless and helping to tidy the church afterwards, we are home by 9.30 or so. It’s just a few hours each month at the church ad a few hours before hand in preparing some food. It’s not a lot of time or effort required for what I get out of it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no saint and on more than one occasion I’ve looked out of my window before setting off and thought “It’s awful weather and we have to drive on the motorway to get there. Can I be bothered?” Thankfully, I have decided to go. Why “thankfully”? Well, I have met some truly inspiring folk, both volunteer and homeless, and, despite it sometimes being a trek along the M62 in traffic and poor weather, I enjoy being able to give just a little something back. I receive so much more than it takes me to give.
Why not come along and see for yourselves?