Spent 3 shifts with the West Day Centre of CRISIS‘ Open Christmas for the homeless this Christmas- 13:45-20:30 on 23-Dec-06 and 07:30-14:30 on 26-Dec-06 and 30-Dec-06.
It is truly a remarkable eye opening 3 shifts and it changed my attitude towards the homeless. Some of guests I met were rough-sleepers, though a lot a “hidden” homeless people, which is within CRISIS‘ charter. They live in temporary accommodation such as hostels.
Without God’s love and guidance, I think I probably would not have the courage to shake hand with guests who had dirty hands or hug them. OK, some guests obviously have a problem with alcohol, and a small minority of the guests are drug users, but I see true companionship amongst the guests, which is arguably deeper and more genuine than that amongst our society. The image of a very well spoken and courteous elderly guest who just left hospital with a size 10 feet from water retention and couldn’t find in a flip-flop and could not find any shoes big enough for him at all charity shops he tried shocked me most, and I so wanted to help him on that very first shift ever with CRISIS. Regrettably, the most I could do for him is to take down his needs and passing it to the people responsible for the clothing store, which was not ready on the first day. Thank God that on my return to the centre on Boxing Day, I saw him in a reasonable pair of shoes!