What volunteering have you been up to?
Every Friday our team of student volunteers help out at the soup kitchen at Reading Minister ran by a local homelessness charity. We help out set up the kitchen so its ready for our guests before carrying out a range of responsibilities such as making teas/coffees, serving food or engaging with our guests in the recreational area. Beside this, we try and organise fundraisers, write articles for the Spark and generally try and increase awareness amongst the student body.
What is your favourite thing about being part of Readistreet
Without a doubt it’s the social aspect. Not only do you get to know an amazing group of people who commit their Friday evenings to helping out the local community, but you also get to know our guests and sometimes hear their stories. Whilst I joined to try and do more to help the local community, one of the biggest factors for why I continue to help is that every week is always a positive, fun experience.
Why do you volunteer to help at Readistreet?
I initially begun volunteering as coming from an isolated rural community, coming to Reading was something of a culture shock when I realised the scale of homelessness. I couldn’t believe how some people just seemed so apathetic to the issue so I wondered is there anything I could do to help and that’s when I heard about the soup kitchen. However as time progressed, I heard and learned more about some of the obstacles and challenges in life some of our guests have had to overcome, and this just motivated me to do more to help those who didn’t necessarily benefit from the advantages I had in life.
What can Reading Students do to help?
Get in touch with us or any local homelessness charity to find out more about the problem. When you realise for instance that the mortality rate of the homeless in Reading is noticeably above the national average, you’ll realise its an issue which can’t be ignored. As a society, we’re always looking to have more students help out for what really could be a night of volunteering once a term, so feel free to drop us an email if you are curious but are worried about prior commitments. Day to day, most charities don’t advise giving money directly to the homeless, so a good route is to donate money, food, or even clothing to any of the excellent local charities which operate in the area.