By Kim Sewell:
The Children arrived at 6pm, with sleeping bags, layers of clothes and a
Bowl/cup/ spoon and as much cardboard as they could physically carry.
After a while of den building: in which the girls were very organised and
the boys sleeping areas kept falling apart and having to be redesigned, it
was game time.
We then had a guest speaker from NewWay (East Ham , London), Jonny is
originally from our church and has been working down in London for three
years so was keen to share this with the children. His video presentation of
running a sleeping shelter was very powerful.
After more games and Hot Chocolate our Vicar Mary came with a team game and
pompom making while chatting about Advent. It was a good application for the
children, while absorbed in craft and having seen Jonny’s video and in a
hall of cardboard boxes.
After that it was 10pm and we had arranged for my wife and friends to appear
in our motor home with hot soup as if a soup Kitchen! All had to get
dressed in hats, gloves and scarfs to go out into the dark and damp for soup
served from the van window, some were surprised you drank soup from a mug.
The next hour or so was “trying” to encourage to bed. It was the boys in
their make shift dens that struggled the most. The girls had gone for
comfort and the boys elaborate roofs etc did not provide that.
It was a great evening and in the morning it was shock tactics as they were
woken up by the “street cleaners” shaking them out if bed and telling them
to pack up and leave. Porridge or a slice of bread was available for
All of us were all effected and challenged in a variety of ways. Because we
are a community that already do a great deal of fundraising, we also chose
the option to collect for a local food bank. The response for this has been
overwhelming, and although the Church Urban Fund will not benefit from the
food collection we are confident you would support this idea.