I think I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I volunteer for CCHP, Cambridge Churches Homeless Project, is a group of Churches in the area that provide a venue so that 15-20 of the homeless in the area can have a hot meal and warm place to stay from 1st December-1st April. It works alongside other projects that support the homeless such as Jimmys and Wintercomfort, to make sure the men are receiving appropriate health care, healthy food, and a place to talk.
I started working with CCHP last year and now do one shift a week (last year I was insane and tried two nights a week, trust me that’s a bad idea!) helping set up, checking the guys in, having dinner with them, staying overnight and helping clear up the next day.
One of the things on my bucket list is to buy food for a homeless person (personally I do not give money to anyone on the streets) but since working with CCHP I have been doing research to find out how/what is best to do to help them. As I find out more my ‘bucket list’ may change from buying them food to something that meets their needs.
I was talking to one of the guests about how he gets treated while on the streets, and his response varied from people saying hi to ignoring him to verbal abuse and spitting at him. Just the thought that a person can spit at another human is disgusting, no matter what’s happened to end up with the person on the streets (and who are we to judge?!) they are still a human being and deserve to be treated with as much respect as any other person.
I have learnt so much since working with these guys and it makes me so happy to hear when one of these guys finds a job, gets a place to live, or wins one of their many internal battles. To the guys, thank you for everything you have done for me, I love being part of our own community.
Please understand I am not writing this post to boast or get any praise, I just want to raise awareness of how the homeless live and share my experiences of being with them. I think it’s one area of society that is often misunderstood and feared yet often doesn’t need to be.