Volunteering for The Homeless @ Whitechapel Mission
Last Thursday a team of Volunteers from boycerecruitment participated in the Breakfast Challenge @ Whitechapel Mission . This is a smallish, special charity based in Central London who employ a team of people to dedicate their energies to helping the Homeless.
You have to be a pretty special person to focus your career for such a worthy cause and we found that the people we met did everything they could to show how what they did was such a positive experience.
It can be quite nerve racking not knowing what to expect and that morning before we started at 5.45 am, we all had our preconceptions of what it would be like, how hands on we would be and also how we would feel when we met the homeless people that this charity supported. But our fears were put aside pretty quickly as from the very first moment we turned up though the doors, we weren’t allowed any time to worry about our own selfish anxieties; we had a job to do, which was to prepare the breakfasts, make sure that all the customers were treated well, looked after and fed.
I think everyone had an encounter or experience that really touched them that morning. Many of the people just wanted a smile and a chat whilst they waited for their food. They were all pretty friendly. It was surprising to see how many people homelessness affected from the very young, to the old, the ex -armed forces, ex business people, women, men, people who had come to London on the false hope of finding work and money to send home easily. We could identify with so many of the people there and it made us really get a sense of how tragic it was and how easy it would be for someone to find themselves in this awful situation.
We were told that there are over 5000 recorded Homeless people in London, but in reality there are far more than this as there are many that are unaccounted for. Whitechapel Mission is one of the smaller charities who offer a fantastic service to some of London’s underprivileged, unsupported people. They offer breakfasts, clothing, the chance to wash and change, they have a day centre, skills training and career advice, activity programmes and specialist support for complex needs. They always need volunteers to help them either by actually getting involved in their day to day work or fundraising/ donating.
All the money they raise goes straight back into helping their clients. They rely on word of mouth primarily and any promotional activity they can get from their volunteers as they don’t have a huge spend on marketing activity.
The staff who are employed there work incredibly hard and seem an incredibly optimistic bunch of people.
The problem of homelessness won’t go away overnight but working there made us realise that if we managed to make a slight improvement or help even just one person then we believe we have made a difference and it has all been worthwhile. The people at Whitechapel really struck a chord with the team from boycerecruitment and we all look forward to the opportunity to go back again, with our friends and colleagues who didn’t make it this time, to help in the future.