I arrived at Faith in Action, not homeless, but down and out, and absolutely penniless. That was last November. About 6 months previously, I’d been made redundant. I found myself without income or any benefits and quite depressed. I had stopped paying my way. Mail, mostly bills, lay unopened in a pile by my letterbox and I had also stopped answering my phone or other calls. I had given up. I, despite the knowledge that this behaviour might be regarded as thoroughly irresponsible, just couldn’t help myself. The ordinary, mundane but essential daily tasks that people have to undertake, just to stay alive, seemed beyond me. I couldn’t frankly, see the point of living.
Although I live in Merton, I’d heard about FiA from a London soup kitchen.
It was hunger which brought me through the doors of FiA.
However not only food but the warmest of welcomes awaited and volunteers, helpers and others helped me mend a somewhat broken life. Amazing kindness and caring at FIA saw a restoration of my faith in humanity. Here, not only are people prepared to go that extra mile but they just do it.
When the heating broke down mid-winter, FIA staff and its volunteers literally took us that extra mile. Dot took us all down to a nearby café for breakfast, whilst others, undeterred by misfortune or the prospect of a logistical nightmare, hastily arranged alternative accommodation at Holy Trinity Church hall. Lunch was prepared and served as normal. Even a game of Bingo remained on the menu.
At FIA breakfast, tea and coffee are served from the kitchen hatch with mugs or cups being turned around for the benefit of the left- or right-handed grasp. Lunch is home-made, prepared with obvious care and served to individuals always at the table. All are treated with respect. We are doubtless all aware of memories associated with the giving of food. Some of us might be lucky enough to recall our granny’s home-made apple pie or pancakes, or in my case a special treat of lemon meringue pie, or a warm bowl of porridge; hot soup like that beautiful fresh mushroom soup we enjoyed a couple of weeks ago, berries gathered from a garden or hedgerow, or fresh fruit salads. All this puts me in mind of a movie called “Babette’s Feast” where food is served with more than a soupcon of love, and that nurture puts me in mind of FiA.
Similarly volunteers turned up to serve us on Good Friday, all facilities as normal along with Easter cards and chocolate eggs (Thanks to Dot). For myself, I have benefited in many material ways. The registering of an email address has helped me with job applications, and the use of a phone, when needed, has helped me follow these up. Our personal hygiene is served with the provision of warm showers, and I have been made more presentable to future employers with a haircut. As much as possible FiA has, for most, the feeling of a loving family home and I can think of no better tribute than that. My and our thanks to the Faith in Action team and its benefactors.