Saturday, 26 September 2015

TEENAGERS FIGHT HOMELESSNESS...

How readers Cecily and Grace decided to do something practical to help homeless people in their city…

Cecily says:
Grace and I are in our last year of high school and we started this project recently to help homeless people in our city. It all began when we went into town with our friend Max to do some shopping. We bought some milkshakes and sat down to drink them, and Max didn't want all of his drink. There was a homeless man sitting just a few feet away from us, so we gave him Max's drink and he was so, so grateful for something we wouldn't have thought twice about throwing away. Later on, we went to our drama group which meets at one of the galleries in town, and there was an exhibition on that we looked at which inspired us to think about taking away from society.

Grace and I went back home, talking about the events of the day and about the art exhibition. We are both left-wing Christians and I was rambling on about poverty and homelessness and how appalled I was at the way the city's growing homeless population were treated. This made Grace cry. We simultaneously had the realisation that there is no point in crying about something when you could actually change it! We used our bus day-savers to get back into town and spent our saved pocket money on food and drink for the homeless. On that first evening, we power-walked about eight miles around the city centre looking for people in need to help.

We met a wonderful woman who started to cry when we offered he food, because she felt ashamed. We sat down with her in the dark street and she told us her story. We knew from that point on that this was not going to be a one-off, and the group Teenagers Fight Homelessness was born. At the moment, it's just me, Grace and one other volunteer, but we have started a Facebook Page and we would be grateful for helpers or donations. We are collecting any sealed foodstuffs such as nutrition bars, crackers, bread, etc and drinks in bottles and cartons. We also need pillows, blankets, sleeping bags and warm socks, backpacks, unused toothbrushes and toothpaste. We plan to make up backpack-packs which would include a pillow, blanket, toothpaste and toothbrush.

On our own, we obviously cannot help every homeless person to get back on their feet, but we can try. Already we have received wonderful help from companies such as Tesco and Cafe Nero who have given us leftover fresh food for free! As teenagers - and even adults - we often wonder what our aim or purpose in life might be. Well even if we never find out, isn't it better to do something worthwhile? Sometimes, all people need is someone to talk to or something to eat and drink. The bare necessities of life are things we take for granted, but to a homeless person they are rarities that may be remembered forever. If you feel strongly about issues like poverty and homelessness, do something to change it. We believe in you - we hope you believe in us.

Find out more about TEENAGERS FIGHT HOMELESSNESS - and how you can volunteer or help -here, or email teenagersfightpoverty@gmail.com to find out how you can help.

Cathy says:
Lots of us feel strongly about poverty and homelessness, but I admire Cecily and Grace very much for doing something practical to help. Have YOU ever done something awesome to help others? Or would you like to? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more...

2 comments:

  1. I live near Edinburgh and every time I go there with my mum there's homeless people. It always makes me sad. My mum works there and always sees these people. A man with stumpy legs near the shopping centre... A man with a dog on princes street and loads more people. I wish I could do something for them but we cannot help everyone. My aim is to smile at them so far - it might be bigger next year when I turn 12!

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  2. You are two very inspirational girls. Someday I want to make a career out of something like that. It annoys me that, and I do care about migrants too, the UK government are trying so hard to help migrants from other countries, which is great, but they haven't done much for our own homeless.

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