Out and About with Rhythms of Life!
As part of our aim to highlight the great work of our partner charities, while giving you an insight into the work their volunteers do, I’ve been out serving with some of them! Here’s my account of my shift with Rhythms of Life.
Learning the Ropes
On arrival at the office, Faris, the charity’s Founder and CEO, is there to greet me with the bright red Rhythms of Life t-shirt. The fridges are overflowing with goodies for our homeless friends, and our first job is to check for sell-by dates and sort sandwiches into vegetarian and meat. Then there are yoghurts and desserts to load into the wheeled baskets, along with the packing up of cakes and biscuits.
Making New Friends
Finally, we gather up the tea and coffee equipment, along with sundries such as plastic cutlery and toiletries, and load them into the car. Faris drives us the short distance to Old Street Fire Station – he seems to do everything! “We’ve got a great relationship with the Fire Station,” he says cheerfully, “They let us park on their forecourt and pop in to use their facilities if we need, and we bring any leftovers we have. It works really well – everyone wins.” We park up outside the Fire Station and start unloading.
I ask Faris if people know to come down to the van, or if we need to do a little outreach, and he replies that since this is a new area, it’s a little of both. Christine, another volunteer, and myself, having seen some people begging by the station, take a basket with a variety of goodies and approach them. There is something very heartwarming about wearing this bright red shirt that says “Helping the homeless” on it. People recognise us instantly, and the conversation flows more easily than it does when I approach people when I’m on my own. One man asks us if we have any socks and shoes as his are in complete disrepair, so I call Faris and he tells me to invite the man to visit the van – he says it’s important to encourage them to make an effort and engage independently, rather than bring everything straight to them. I am awestruck by this wisdom – it’s a more conscious way of giving, thinking about how to help the person long term, rather than simply providing a quick fix for a basic need – helping people heal from the inside rather than just a sticking plaster solution.
Serving Through Wisdom
We arrive back at the van, and Faris invites a lady over to offer her food, toiletries and tea. She gratefully accepts, and after she has left I ask how he knew she was in need. He tells me he had seen her begging on another day. The awareness from his personal experience enables Faris to put together the pieces of this tragic puzzle – he has truly made the best of his challenges, and I encourage you to spend some time serving with this charity, whether it is now, or for Light Up A Life 2018.
Light Up A Life