Every Monday a church lead charity, that go by the name of Street Level arrive under a flyover in Poole. They set up a couple of tables outside their bus with hot food and sandwiches, and spend the next two hours providing hot meals and various other amenities to the homeless of the area.
The aim of the service is to reach out to the homeless community and make sure that they know someone cares. Sometimes supporting someone is as simple as listening to their problems or concerns, this is no different with Street Level.
Lead by Andy Cray and the founder Reverend Steve Sheppard, the bus arrives at around 8pm and pulls up under the flyover to make sure they keep everyone out of the elements. The homeless now affectionately call this Flyover ‘Hunger Hill’. The team then set up a couple of tables on which they can set out the food containers. The food can be anything from soups to sausages, vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. Either way Street Level makes sure they all get a hot meal at least once that week. They also hand out whatever kind donations have been received that week, such as bags of Mini Eggs and other treats that are not usually a part of a homeless person’s weekly consideration.
The number of visitors that attend every week differs and can range from 20 people to 30 or 40 on a busy night as the homeless move into and out of the area, however there are a few regulars that turn up for a chat and a catch up with people in a similar situation.
It’s not just food that is donated by the Street Level team. The homeless can climb inside the bus to have a warm and comfortable place to eat and chat. There are a few TVs on the walls for them to watch for a short while if they wish. They can even get a haircut if they need one, or small containers of soap to carry with them on their travels, amongst other things.
It’s not just the Street Level team that donate their time to this great cause. Other kind volunteers also donate their time, money and services to help this venture. Nas Amir-Ahmadi, owner of MY Food, is one of those people. Nas attends twice a month bringing warm, hearty food to help the evening. Using her facilities at MY Food, Nas can cater for far more people than in an ordinary kitchen. She even brings along other willing volunteers from the MY Food staff to help out where they can. You will often find Terri, Wayne, Marianne or Lu serving food and collecting up the dirty dishes.
Nas commented: “I love getting involved in my local community, and this definitely felt like the right thing to do. With the facilities I have at MY Food it was an easy decision. They are good people and I’m happy to help them whenever I can.
Nas also likes the banter she gets from the regulars, chatting with them finding out what has changed that week, or whether they sorted out the issues they had been suffering recently.
For many of the attendees the event is a place for them to share a sense of community, as many of them are isolated and rarely get to have a good conversation. It also gives them the opportunity to ask someone advice about something that has been troubling them.
Either way, the Street Level Team and the volunteers like Nas are doing a great thing and are appreciated by so many of the local homeless community.
If you want to find out about what Street Level are doing in the community, then please visit their website: http://streetlevel.info/
If you want to find out more about MY Food then please visit www.myfood.co.uk