On Saturday on the way to uni, outside Notting Hill tube station, at 8.00 in the morning, in the freezing temperatures, lay what looked like two bodies asleep on the glittering pavement, with nothing but an open sleeping bag strewn over the top of them. People going about their early morning business, busy with living, whilst below their feet and eye line, some people are lying low, barely surviving. I am sure that many hearts are wrenched at this sight, because hearts forever see, even when the eyes may not.
I am sure that many of these hearts, just aren’t sure what they could possibly do to help in such desperate circumstances. I am often not sure what to do myself in order to help these people, who seemingly have rejected life as we know it. On Saturday morning I purposefully had a flask of hot Campbell’s soup with me, but I didn’t leave the polystyrene cups filled with the steaming broth for the sleeping bodies, because they had no lids, and I didn’t want to disturb their sleep which was offering repose from such desperation. So frustratingly I walked past, hoping that they both would and wouldn’t be there upon my return at 2.30, when the soup no longer has it appetizing heat.
When I came out of uni I passed by a lovely homeless man whom I have fed before. I stopped to talk to him, he wasn’t in such good form. I asked him if he remembered me giving him soup previously, I asked if he would like some more. He said ‘no thanks, I have trouble with my stomach, I can not eat’. I asked if he could get help for his tummy, he wasnt clear, just stated again he wouldn’t take the food because his stomach couldn’t cope with it. This man is an X soldier who fought in the Falklands War, for our country. As he spoke I noticed that all his teeth had rotted away to nothing more that brown stumps. He was cold and poorly, and still he was polite and gentle. I told him that I remember him in my prayers, and I do, because that is all I can do. Then I said ‘bye bye, try not to get too cold’. The hollowness of my words annoyed me, he already was too cold.
The big Issue seller did not want the soup either on Saturday. I have decided not to take soup in anymore. Its heavy, though that in itself is not a problem, but it goes cold throughout the day. It often gets wasted and I simply can not bear to waste food, especially when that food was to feed the hungry. So I have swapped tactics! Occasionally I buy an extra sandwich from Pret a Manger. Pret a Mangers egg mayo sandwiches used to be £1.10, and that was a bargain. So I started buying freshly made sandwiches, box packed, and placed in the nice crisp fresh white take out bags, with serviette. I gave them instead to the homeless person sitting outside the station, this worked really well. Then Pret had a mammoth price increase by 50p, which is still good value at £1.60, but it limits me to feeding only one homeless person instead of a few with my soup. But this way there is no waste, and if I spot no homeless people, I eat it for my lunch instead, and then if I spot another homeless person I buy them a fresh one. If the homeless people are sleeping I can just leave my bag right next to them for when they wake. It works. Its futile, but it works. On days when things are too tight, I make them at home and pack them in thick foil, and its cheaper . . . and this works too.
Its only futile because I am one. Others are doing so much more, shelters and soup-kitchens, kind people and charities etc etc, all doing so very much good. But I have decided that if all of us could possible offer one single sandwich and a few kind words to a homeless person, they might just gain enough strength to see that there are people who care that they are hungry, and they might just have a little more hope. Thats why merely as a beginning, I am putting forward a suggestion, that throughout the world we could make Fridays a F I S H day. If (Friday Is Sandwiches 4 †he Homeless) day, and if we all could embrace this the world over, then we would at least be highlighting the plight of the hungry and homeless people on our streets. Even if a Friday passes by, where we see not one homeless person, even if we only offer one sandwich, it might just raise a little more awareness.
In almost 18 months of soup and sandwiches, the food I have offered has only ever been rejected a handful of times, and always with kindness. Why not plan now what sandwiches you could take into work on a Friday, and give them to the homeless person sitting outside the station, the homeless person sheltering or sleeping in a doorway, or the homeless person selling the big issue!
Friday Is Sandwiches 4 †he Homeless. day
(F I S H)
Why not make your Friday a (F I S H) Friday, and then what at present is futile, may just become something else altogether. . .
If you see someone sleeping rough give their location to 0870 3833333 or firstname.lastname@example.org so they can get them indoors.