Earlier tonight I went over with CEC to drop a couple of parcels in to the volunteers at Inner City Helping Homeless. Every Christmas it’s the same thing; she goes out and buys toys and sweets and finds places to donate them. This year it was to the Capuchins on Church Street, the Saint Vincent de Paul, and to the ICHH. Any time that I have dropped into the SVdeP they come across as professional and organised but in a cold way. Last year I stood and listened as their secretary interrogated a man who had dropped in to ask for their help. They have a job to do. I get this, but dignity is something that I came away thinking that they do not always consider.

A little further down the same street, this year, we dropped into the collection point of Inner City Helping Homeless. This was an entirely different experience. Behind the desk there was a warm-hearted woman, who by her accent sounded local, and taking in the deliveries was another, equally warm, man. When I expressed an interest in what they were doing this man took it upon himself to give us a tour of the building, and it would be an understatement to say that we were impressed. Every night they are on the streets of the city making sure that those who are sleeping rough have caring human contact and a few things that they will need to stay warm and clean.

Every single room that they had, even their own kitchen area, was filled with the boxes of things that people had donated for distribution. There were socks, gloves, hats and scarfs, mats, sleeping bags, soaps, and all sorts. People had really responded to the call for donations. One comment was that facilities like this were always in the working class parts of town. Yes they are. They always are. It’s no secret that people with less means give more. Working people belong to the class where homelessness is more likely to affect families. I thought that this might explain the local accents, and I was delighted to see this generosity in action. On leaving them I decided to take a couple of volunteer application forms.

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