Through my involvement in soup kitchens in the city I live in, I feel I have developed a better understanding of poverty in the area I live in. Over a month ago I started co-ordinating a weekly food serving in my local area (which has many people struggling financially). Yesterday, I introduced a second day in to the initiative, and am really happy that both evenings are successful. The number of patrons is small and growing, which is perfect for allowing us all to build relationships with each other and to find out the needs of the patrons.
This action required such little time and effort from my part I was not sure whether to count it or not. But I have decided to add it to my list after all, because it is an example of something pro-active that can be done with barely any resources (just a little time and research).
A while ago, my step-mother-in-law mentioned to me that she was interested in volunteering to help refugees settle in to their new home and get to know the local area. Then last night I was at a networking event for work and I met someone who works with refugees. She told me the person to contact regarding volunteering, and then all I needed to do was spend a little time on the internet finding his contact details and passing them on to my step-mum-in-law.
Volunteering with refugees in New Zealand: https://www.redcross.org.nz/what-we-do/in-new-zealand/refugee-services/
Helping refugees around the world: http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646c344.html
For the last couple of weeks I have been trying to help a young couple that have been sleeping rough each night to find a home. It has been so much more challenging than I imagined. With poor credit and payment records, renting has proven to be an almost impossible option at this point. I managed to find a place where they could live and pay board, but because of communication and organisational issues I still struggle to comprehend, their moving off the streets took extra days. Yesterday everything was finally ready and I dropped them off at their new home, where they will be living with a lady who is trained as a psychologist and seems eager to offer them a comfortable and stable home environment.
As a little gift, I made the couple a home-starter pack, to last them for their first few days. In it I put pasta and tomato sauce, cereal and milk, bananas, some washing powder, soap, shampoo, a sponge, tampons and a few more items. I spoke to them again today and they said all is going well, as did the lady that is hosting them. I really hope this is can be a new beginning for them.