Spotlight on Rhythms of Life – Heroes for the Homeless!
Welcome to our Light Up A Life blog, where we share our volunteering news and shine a light on some of our hard-working charity partners. Light Up A Life is a winter volunteering project that serves charities and communities who lose their regular volunteers during the winter holiday. We also aim to spread warmth and goodwill to ensure that no-one is left out, especially in the winter months.
This month, the spotlight is on Rhythms of Life – our volunteers served this homeless charity during Light Up A Life 2017 in several ways, including cooking food at synagogues and delivering it, joining forces with the charity’s volunteers to serve food on the streets, and delivering donated chocolates and duvets for their service users.
The charity is on a truly incredible journey, right up until their most recent challenge – to find a new home by the end of next week. Believe me, when I agreed with Andrew Faris, the Founder, that I would come in once a week to report on their operations and help Light Up A Lifers to get a taste of how the charity operates, I did not expect to find that a homeless charity was in danger of becoming…..homeless.
Let’s start from the beginning though. 16 years ago, Andrew himself was a rough sleeper. After 6 years on the streets, however, he managed to turn his life around step by step (read his full story here). Grateful for a second chance in life, he was determined not to leave his homeless friends behind, and paid it forward by setting up Rhythms of Life in 2008. The charity serves food on the streets, offers provisions, care, support and classes for those in need, with two key differences to most other homeless charities:
- With Andrew at the helm, the charity’s mission reflects firsthand experience of life on the street, including the belief that all homeless people have the potential to rebuild their lives, just as Andrew did, which enables volunteers to serve with a deep compassion and enthusiasm
- It runs purely on volunteer power!
On top of this, they feed between 50 and 100 people every single night of the year with donations of surplus food, so they are also preventing a huge amount of food waste daily.
When I first encountered Rhythms of Life during preparations for Light Up A Life 2017, I was touched by how open they were to receiving volunteers, home cooked food, our beloved duvets (above), the works! There was no fuss, the answer was always yes. Of course, in charity, as with any organisation, there are policies and procedures to be followed, but with Rhythms of Life it truly feels like a service user-centred, heart-on-the-sleeve, unapologetically caring organisation.
Which is why I hope that at least some of you will be able to help move them into a new home. I have been in close contact with Andrew since the news of their leaving Covent Garden, and having built up a relationship through Light Up A Life throughout the years, they are counting on us to support them through this transition. If you’re 18 or over and have any spare time over the coming weeks, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how best you can serve. It’s mostly packing toiletries, clothes and food at the moment, but other move related help will be required.
I will post again when I have an update on the situation, but in the meantime, if you know of anyone who can help the charity store their resources, or put them up temporarily while they find a permanent home, please contact the charity as above.
Wishing you a thankful Thursday,
Light Up A Life