We offer food but what homeless people really want is to be talked to with respect

Our columnist Hannah Coupland talks about her involvement in the Family Church as an outreach team leader helping homeless people

Friday, 21st October 2016, 6:06 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:24 pm
Family Church outreach workers Hannah Coupland and Veronica Hastings

EVERY Monday and Friday, 52 weeks a year, come rain or shine, a team of volunteers from Family Church go out onto the streets of Portsmouth to help those who have nowhere to live or those who have a roof over their heads, but not a home.

A typical evening begins at 6pm.

The team meets, cooks and prepares the food and then we stop at various regular locations around Portsmouth including North End, Albert Road, Osbourne Road and The Hard.

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We finish in Commercial Road at 9pm.

Throughout the evening our team go out and bless the people we meet with hot drinks, hot food, cakes, bread, clothing and sleeping bags.

We are able to do this through the generosity of donations and the generosity of businesses such as Heidi’s Bakery, which provides the cakes and bread.

The willingness of people who get involved, both from within Family Church and those who have heard about our outreach, is also an enormous help and we could not do it without them.

These people take time out of their busy lives to bring faith, hope and a whole lot of love to the incredible people of Portsmouth.

From week to week the number of people we can serve in one evening can vary from 20 to 60 – which shows the need in the city.

Some of the stories we hear are heartbreaking. And some very unexpected.

Since becoming involved with the Family Church’s outreach I have learned that you really cannot assume why somebody is out on the streets.

All the men and women we meet have a need.

Yes, they are hungry. But, more than that, they want to be spoken to with respect and want to feel valued and loved.

We have found that what they desire most is conversation.

As a church we offer each individual prayer if they want it, as well as information and knowledge about local resources in the city.

Both my husband and I have a passion and heart for the people of Portsmouth and love being part of the Family Church’s outreach.

If you want to read more of what Family Church offers, please visit our website, family-church.org.uk or for Love Buckland events visit the Empower Centre Portsmouth on Facebook.