As I write this it’s cold and rainy. The clouds seem to be heavier this year. Perhaps they match the mood? Lots of Aussies are struggling to put food on the table and I’ve noticed more rough sleepers back on the streets. The pandemic seems to have widened the gap between the haves and have-nots, but thankfully your support is enabling us to make things better.
In fact, we’ve expanded our services to meet the growing demand. Our kitchen is producing more meals, we’re packing more food parcels and our food vans are visiting more suburbs.
Just the other day I went with one of our food vans to Sydney’s western suburbs. I can honestly say I was shocked at the poverty I saw. There, the choice isn’t just between food on the table or medical treatment – it’s much greater than that. One mother was desperate to keep her child at school, struggling to find enough resources to give her breakfast and lunch. Her daughter’s future was on the line. It’s tough going, but we’re helping with fresh and frozen meal packs and emergency food parcels.
During the height of the pandemic hundreds of rough sleepers were moved into hotels and motels, but that’s all over now. They are back on the streets and facing an especially bleak winter.
More homeless, disadvantaged and socially isolated guests are coming to our Loaves & Fishes Free Restaurant for a hot meal. It’s usually the only one they can get that day. That’s why we make sure our meals are always healthy and nutritious.
It always moves me when I see the kindness of the volunteers who serve those meals, it’s loving compassion in action! Our guests are always grateful too – seemingly more so in these trying times. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have thanked me in recent weeks.
Ironically, our newest chef was once a guest in our restaurant. She was a refugee, struggling to get by. So we took her in and gave her all the help she needed. Now her life has changed. Now she feeds the homeless and those in need. That’s the magic your support creates!
This winter we’re renovating and expanding our kitchen to prepare even more hot meals to feed the hungry. You won’t be shocked to hear that in this current economic climate, there is an increasing number of people in our society who simply don’t have enough money for a single meal, let alone warmth and comfort.
Cold nights with no food or warmth can be deadly. That’s why our food vans go out to meet this need, not only with hot meals but also with blankets and clothes. We keep hundreds of homeless people warm and well every night.
The other night I was talking with a young man living on the streets. He was very bright, but life and mental illness had dealt him a bad hand. Now, he relies on us for his daily meal and compassion. It’s humbling, but we’re determined to do more for him. We want to find him a place to call home.
We live in dark times, made harder by the looming cold winter. But it doesn’t need to be that bad. With your support, we can ease the burden on the poor and homeless. Together we can serve more hot meals, give more food parcels and distribute more warm blankets.
So this winter please support my Foundation. Show you care by donating. I know it’s an uncertain time, but right now we have a chance to make the future better for people struggling to get by.
If you donate now, me and my team can give them more than just a meal, we can give them compassion and hope.
Rev. Bill Crews