As of the 16th of February I have began the process of registering to start a charitable organisation. The charity involves working with supermarkets who provide food and hygienic boxes which can be purchased by customers and then donated at a collection point within the supermarket. I will then collect the donated food and products and distribute them to people in need of them. It is not means tested. The people it is particularly aimed at helping is homeless, unemployed people, but any individual in need is able to use the service. I am thinking about maybe introducing the idea of ‘paying it forward’, whereby recipients of donated products are asked to do something good to/for another stranger, to pass on the kindness. This will be based on trust, rather than needing proof, but will then create a flow of compassion from donors to recipients to others.
I will keep updating this post as things progress.
22 June 2014: Things have evolved somewhat differently, but I am actually very pleased with how things are working. Instead of starting my own charity from scratch, I have joined with an existing charity, Hamilton Homeless, to extend their reach and services. They are mainly based in the CBD of Hamilton New Zealand, and their main function is to provide a warm meal to homeless and needy (they also offer clothes, sleeping bags, and other help where they can). As well as cooking and serving food, I have been helping some of the patron create CVs and prepare for employment.
Now, my role has been extended, and I am to start my own meal serving in one of the suburbs (a challenging area with a lot of poverty, gang affiliations and other reasons to try and help people). I have a team eager to help me, and a plan to not only offer food, but listen to individual needs and see where I can help them be met. We already have resources to offer information on money management (after some of the patrons brought it to my attention that it is an issue for some of them), and the team and I would really like to become more involved in helping them access jobs and services (welfare, mental health and addiction support, medical care, etc).
Finally, this morning I put myself forward as an outreach person for some men who have just been released from prison and who would like to get their lives back on track. I am really excited about this. I am sure it will be challenging and rewarding.