Ninety-five per cent of the time, I love people. I genuinely love them with all my heart – I love spending time with them, engaging in conversation with them and showing them care. It’s important for me that every person feels loved, cared about and listened to, because it’s horrible when you’re not or don’t feel that you are. As I’ve said before, I never want anyone to feel the loneliness I feel or as out-of-place as I feel – it’s a horrible feeling to have.
Over the past week, I’ve put that love of people to good use by volunteering at the homeless shelter the religious denomination I’m part of puts on each year. I’ve wanted to volunteer since it started, but I finally took the time to volunteer this year, which is a natural continuation of the time I’ve spent volunteering at the soup kitchen at the church I attend.
I began to look forward to going the shelter more each day, as I got to know some of the guests through numerous conversations. It’s nice to watch them getting more and more comfortable with you, feeling able to share their stories and reveal more of themselves. I personally believe that it is an honour when individuals share their stories with you, as they’re giving you an insight into their lives when you’re a perfect stranger.
However, I also know that some individuals just want the opportunity to have someone to talk to and I’m glad to provide a listening ear. Sometimes that simple act is all that’s needed to get through to someone or brighten up their day. After all, God’s given me two ears to listen with and I want to ensure that I’m putting them to good use.
I also want to ensure that I’m putting my big heart to good use, because God’s given it to me for a reason and I don’t want to waste it, especially when so many are in need of love and affection. I hope that I was able to spread some love, affection and cheer during my short time spent with the guests, which they’ll take with them in the future.
Being a part of the shelter was a really special experience and I’m eager to volunteer when it opens up again at the end of the year – I miss the guests already and it’s only been about a day since I last saw them. I made some new friends and met some sweet people who have unfortunately ended up in difficult circumstances – I just hope they’re able to find their feet soon and get themselves into some sort of home of their own. But most of all, I hope that they remember they are more than homeless and each of them are special individuals.
It breaks my heart to think that these individuals have gone from just over a week of warmth, shelter and feeding back into the cold, cruel streets of London. I wish that there was more I could do to help each and every one of them, so they never have to be homeless again. No one should ever have to be homeless and hungry, especially in a first world country like the UK. It sickens and saddens me – we need to do more to put a stop to it.