It is coming up to that time of the year again when we hold our AGM. For me, this is a rewarding experience because I stop and take the time to reflect on the work Givlife has been doing. Firstly, we are getting old, having had our eleventh birthday in June 2019 and with age comes a certain sense of responsibility to be more strategic and functionally efficient. And that is largely what our focus is.
We have become more engaged with individuals in need of a helping hand – often in the form of advocacy or speaking up for those frequently overlooked. Through our Soup Kitchen we frequently have guests who need more than a warm meal.
Guests from troubled countries who are trying to make a new life here and yet come up against numerous barriers. Or guests who through no fault of their own find themselves homeless. Or guests who are desperate to find work to make ends meet and don’t know where to turn. Each one of these guests has a story to tell that moistens the listeners eyes and yet they don’t want pity – they want someone to care enough to listen to them so that they understand them. In other words, to use a well know quote from the early 1900’s, adopted by Floyd McClung from YWAM (Youth with a Mission) –
‘’People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’’.
This is one such story - Early this year, an infrequent guest to Soup Kitchen who rarely says
very much, opened up in conversation with our gentle, caring volunteer cook on the barbeque. The volunteer just listened and what he heard disturbed him – not because it was an unusual story, but because the guest was feeling lost and hopeless. He was about to lose his state rental home because undesirables had taken over, using drugs, causing disturbances and threatening our guest. He chose to move out to avoid getting into trouble with them and had been living on the streets for many months. He is an intelligent man, but reluctant to speak and due to life’s circumstances struggles to communicate with people in government offices and authority. He did not know what to do or where to turn, but thankfully he found a wise and caring listener in Mark, our volunteer. Through this connection we have been able to advocate with the authorities and support our Soup Kitchen guest to clean his life up and to regain some integrity by finding temporary housing while he waits to be rehoused. The story hasn’t finished yet, but there is a lot more hope in our guest. That’s one of the reasons we continue our community work.