Feeding more homeless this winter

by Rev. Bill Crews 24 Apr 2024

Cold and hungry, the homeless are turning to us for help this winter

What would happen if one of the women in your family ended up homeless and alone? Who would be there to look after them? Where would they get their next meal? How could they stay warm and well during the cold, wet winter ahead?

This is the harsh reality of life for many Sydneysiders. Cold and hungry, they turn to my Foundation for help; and in larger numbers than ever. In fact, I’ve never known there to be so many who have so little. The cost-of-living crisis will make this winter especially brutal for them. 

I’ve got good news

The good news is that your support will enable us to care. Just yesterday I struck up a conversation with Anna who was dining in our Loaves & Fishes Free Restaurant. She’s a small woman who sleeps rough.

Anna comes to us for a meal and a hot shower. I asked her how she felt about sleeping outdoors: “I’m always very careful to find a safe space. You never know what can happen, but it’s harder in winter when the rain and the wind make it cold”.

Lots of people must step over Anna as she shelters in doorways. It makes me wonder if Sydney has become immune to her predicament?

At the next table is Josephine. She is alone in life and confined to a wheelchair. With all her medical problems, she finds it difficult to survive the cost-of-living crisis without our help. “I don’t know how I’d get by without you”, she pipes up!

Indeed, hunger is a sensation well known to Josephine and Anna. Sadly, lots more people will go hungry in Sydney today. I’m sure you can appreciate their financial distress; they can’t heat their homes or buy warm clothing, let alone put food on the table. Needless to say, homelessness is just around the corner.

Winter is an especially cruel time for the homeless. That’s why our food vans drive into the night with hot meals for rough sleepers. In fact our meals are often all they eat each day. We also give them warm clothes, snug blankets and sleeping bags. You’d be forgiven for thinking these are small comforts, but they are gratefully received.

Miracles do happen

Paul was someone who slept rough. I’ve come to know him well in recent times; he’s a gentle soul who was simply dealt a bad hand in life. As I walked up to my Foundation this morning Paul was waiting. He threw his arms around me and exclaimed: “I’ve got a place. I’ve finally got a home!” His smile was as wide as the Harbour Bridge.

The miracle happened thanks to our dedicated team who found humble, yet secure accommodation for Paul. Can you imagine his relief to know he’d be sleeping in a bed, rather than on the streets that night?

Paul, Josephine and Anna are among the 1,600 people who will eat a meal supplied by my Foundation today. It’s food relief that has a direct and meaningful impact on their lives. However, something concerning is also happening.

As winter looms I’m getting worried. Already my Foundation is experiencing an increase in demand from those who can’t make ends meet. We’re serving record numbers of meals; and giving out more food parcels. It’s happening on a scale that’s never occurred before.

If not for the support of people like you the tide of struggling humanity might overwhelm us. That’s why I’m asking you to dig extra deep this winter. If you donate we can care for more people like Anna, Josephine and Paul. We can cook more hot meals. We can give more warm blankets to rough sleepers; even get them off the streets!

These good things can all be achieved, but only if you choose to support my Foundation this winter. So please make an extraordinary donation, sure in the knowledge I will honour your kindness in the best way I know how.

God Bless

Rev. Bill Crews