STREET FEEDING PROGRAMME IN READING
10th May 2017
There are over 100 homeless people sleeping rough on the streets of Reading.
During the Ten Days of Prayer in January 2017 the members of Reading West prayed for those sleeping on the streets in the cold and wet of mid-January. However, prayer has the purpose of motivating us to act so instead of going to the prayer meeting the next evening a small group decided to go to the streets to feed the homeless.
That feeding programme is now run every Monday evening. Each week there are between 10 - 18 on streets and basic food items and meals are purchased for them.
In Reading a person has to be living on the streets for 5 years before the council will provide accommodation for them. The homeless depend on churches and charities to provide food and emergency accommodation for them during this time. For this reason, there are now two soup kitchens running, one at the Reading West church and the other at the Reading South church plant. Both initiatives are now feeding the homeless on Saturdays and Sundays.
Funding for the projects are from church members who believe in the ministry, they give by direct debt to the church account. There are also core church members who make up the team including Thomas, David our Community leader, Janet, Max, Ken, Abigail, Felicity, and a number of other church members.
The homeless are always appreciative of what they receive and the time we take to talk and pray with them. There is a new blessing each week for those who volunteer their time. It is surprising how quickly relationships are built up as group members are able to name all of those are feed each week. It is greatly appreciated by the homeless who always look forward to the group each week. Mel and Josh, both homeless in the early 20s would only take food if they really needed it. One evening, Mel so sick with flu, it moved the volunteers to pray for her. By next week she was well again.
All church members at Reading West are encouraged to simply do the things that Jesus asked each one to do; feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, and visit those who are lonely and broken-hearted.
"Helping those in need makes Christianity come alive," says church leader Thomas, "it is a privilege to follow in our Master's footsteps."
If you would like to sponsor a simple meal @ £2:50 each month for the homeless please contact Pastor Trevor Thomas on 07777 697 154 who will connect you to the Local Treasurer.
[George De Sousa]