Echoes of Hunger and Homelessness

You ever been hungry? Not just hungry and grab a bite to eat. But hungry with nothing to eat and no way of knowing where your next meal is coming from. If it is. I haven’t. I would be willing to bet most of you haven’t either.

As I wrote in yesterday’s post the whole issue of sleeping rough, homelessness and lack of life’s necessities, has come home to roost.

I didn’t sleep that well last night. Not after seeing the state of the young man and hearing stories about the plight of our homeless here in our own home town. Here I was, safe, snug and warm, with a full belly. And he was on the streets because he felt safer there.

My friend had a phone call this morning to thank us for last night’s food delivery. They had enough food to feed 38 people and extra left over to give out  food packages the next day. Everyone has to leave in the mornings. That boiled egg or tin of tuna may be the only food they will have in the next day or two.

We were so happy to hear that the young man was given a bed for the night in the shelter where we left the food. He was so grateful for a full belly, a safe and warm place to sleep. A place where he can sleep in peace without fear of being beaten up,  abused or raped. Well known to the shelter, he has been sleeping rough for ten years following a work injury which has left him with a permanent disability, in severe pain. Some nights he is unable to reach the shelter in time as walking is slow and painful. And no one will stop to give him a lift. His is a sad story of a man who wants to work and lead a comfortable life but the system is set up so it conspires against this.

In addition to the food, we left three personal care kits.

The staff were thrilled to receive them. There is enough items in each pack to support 8 people.

This is but a  peek into the world of homelessness. It has been sobering. So many in need. A minefield of unbelievable red tape getting in the way of simply helping and supporting those in need. So much greed and avarice. So much lack of awareness and understanding.

So much wasted food!  A simple request to a few supermarkets for donations at the end of the day for goods being discarded has been met with a cold NO. One supermarket manager even said in future he would instruct his staff not to do mark downs. They are to discard the food. Where is the compassion? Where is the  respect and support for another in need?

I don’t understand this kind of political correctness mentality and dehumanising attitude. It is not the kind of world I want to live in.

Project Homeless Dudes has begun. We hope others will join us.

© Raili Tanska

Steps for Peace

treat one another as you would  be treated yourself – Raili

26 thoughts on “Echoes of Hunger and Homelessness

  1. Have Read your post. I have actually been hungry and not had any food to eat and been in the position of not knowing when next meal might come from. How ever, I have been fortunate to have a roof over my head. Those were old days – which I would not like to go back to…but does not frighten me if it should ever happen again.
    I share your emotions when I see homeless people. I have always wondered why we seem to keep them there. We offer them food and temporary shelter and a few moment of our time, but never really give the time to give them the best chance they need to get back up and running again. Which is what is really needed. As the saying from the good book tells us, “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day, but if you teach the man to fish, you will feed him for a lifetime.
    I was very pleased to see this video that a friend of mine posted on facebook. I believe this is starting to trend globally and not just the Uk. But the man in this video hits the nail on the head to this problem. They just need a leg up. I personally find this challenging and I hope that someday I will pass on my skills and what I have learnt – to someone who needs them.

    1. Thank you Reuben for you thoughtful comment. I have seen some amazing things being done elsewhere to help make a difference. There was one man who built small cabins on footpaths out of scrap timber – they looked a little like doll’s houses. Every bit helps.

  2. It is boggling to think that we live in rich societies where this is still going on.
    I have been hungry though. As students when we ran out of money we once resorted to frying up grass and trying to eat it. It was inedible even for us starving students. Repulsive, gritty and sickening.

  3. I’m so with you on this, Raili… One of the things we take on each fall is bringing backpacks of food to the schools by our church on Fridays for the kids to take home (not all need, fortunately). So often those kids don’t get another meal until Monday. There are just so many ways to help. Your blogs is a great vehicle for making people aware. Well done! And nothing makes you feel better, does it…

  4. I can honestly say if I ever came into money I would donate big time to the homeless. There is never a time when it’s pouring down or freezing cold and I am in my clean comfy bed that I don’t think about people less fortunate 🙁

  5. That waste of food from Supermarkets is a shocking thing, but here, in the UK, the big ones are doing huge work in supplying food to people. Near here, there is a “drop in” “restaurant ” that is only supplied that way and everyone is a volunteer. I reckon supermarkets who those good food away should be named and shamed. But the logistics of collecting it, cooking it, and distributing it, still needs workers, vehicles and canteens. That people go hungry and homeless here, in the UK too, is an uncomfortable truth.

  6. I hear you! My daughter, not long ago was so upset when her Dad took her to the local Starbucks. It was late and they took every single food item out of the display and threw it in the garbage. My husband wondered what was wrong, but she did not tell him. Later, she wrote a beautiful but sad poem about the experience, asking why they didn’t give it to those in need. Fortunately, not long after… I noticed a sign that said they now donate leftover food items. It is rather sad, because we have the largest supplies of food and at the same time we have the largest amount of waste. Look anywhere and you will find it. So sweet that you got a chance to give back… so many are in need and something must be done to make others care.

    1. I recently read about what Starbucks is doing. Their plan is to ensure 100% of the left over food is donated across all their stores. I wish initiatives like that would be implemented here.

      1. So true. I hope so as well. My daughter was seriously devastated when she saw that. She knows people struggle with hunger and it pains her. She was incredibly glad that they now are doing better – but perhaps there is something we should push for with other restaurants, stores, etc. Waste should never happen… when others go in need.

      2. We’ve asked big supermarket chains here for donations – and got a very firm no in response! In fact, one manager instructed his staff to not even discount smallgoods anymore at all – just bin them instead 😦 We’ve put in a complaint to HQ but change is slow in coming alas. The mentality and focus is on cost cutting and safeguarding against sueing. No compassion, no heart.

      3. Sad to think they would not be willing to help others. You know what they say though… what goes around comes around. I can’t help but believe that, since people can seriously be so unfeeling when feeling is desperately needed.

  7. Thank you for writing the reality of what homelessness is. I think what you are doing is awesome and I encourage you to keep helping! I just created a project at my High School called Hope 4 the Homeless. I wrote about it on my blog. If you want to give me some advice I would appreciate it so much!

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