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Church opens its doors to the homeless
A CHURCH in Cardiff has been helping to provide shelter and provisions for homeless people in the city.
City Church, located on Cowbridge Road East, uses its premises on Saturday evenings to provide hot meals and beds for people who are in need. The service is provided as part of Impact Outreach. There are currently around 17 people volunteering each Saturday to feed the 45 homeless people who visit the church.
Brenda Wee, one of the leaders of Impact Outreach said that the service was inspired by a night shelter service that City Church and six other churches across Cardiff are involved in during the winter.
She said: “One of the pastors co-ordinated seven churches in Cardiff to have one night a week to open up extra beds in the church hall. It ran from December till March. By the end of March, we had gotten to know the people who came and we didn’t want to stop. So we carried on with a weekly event where we offer a hot meal and a place to sleep. Some of the people who come in are homeless or sofa surfing. Others may be in hostels and some may have their own accommodation. However, they are still welcome to come along.”
Mrs Wee said that the project was inspired by the church’s compassion for helping others.
She said: “For us as Christians, Jesus taught us to look after the poor and needy. Our motivation is showing God’s love and compassion for people. We help with physical needs but we do try and help people spiritually. We help place people into rehab, or link them up with bereavement services. If they have a particular need or problem, we try to liaise with professionals groups that can help them.”
Many of the volunteers at City Church felt that helping in the evenings not only assisted those in need, but also gave the volunteers themselves a sense of fulfillment.
Dean Coombes, 33, a volunteer at the church said: “I’ve always wanted to help out the homeless. When I found out about Impact Outreach, I couldn’t wait to get involved. I love working in the kitchen and just being around everybody. The feeling among all the workers here is like being in a family. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time being unproductive. It’s the England vs Wales rugby game today and the old me would have been out drinking. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. But I enjoy doing the cooking because it’s doing something productive with my time. It gives me a lot of joy to help the people and to speak to them. It gives them hope that one day, they will be able to sort out the problems they have.”
Many of the people using the service had visited on more than one occasion. As a result, they had gotten to know many of the volunteers at the church.
Jane Avery has been coming to the shelter over a year. She said that the service offers more than just a hot meal and a bed to sleep in. She said: “I didn’t know a lot of people because I’m not from Cardiff originally. But when I started coming here, I started to get to know people. Now, I’ve got friends here as well. I love talking, meeting people and seeing friends. I’ve met quite a few of my friends from this place. It’s all about having the company and conversation. Otherwise, I’d be stuck in my room all the time.”
Written by SANA ABUBAKER for the Cardiffian