Saturday 30 August 2014

Life at St Joseph`s: Joe`s Place

I have have been here just over a year now. One of the new initiatives has been Joe`s Place. This was at the suggestion of St Cuthert`s Care and provides a drop in cenre for the homeless in the parish hall once a month. Being in th centre of Gateshead I have almmost evry day someone at the door asking for help. It`s good to be able to direct them to this outreach. It is going very well and here is an account from Bernadette one of our volunteers.

Joe’s Place opened its doors at St. Joseph’s Parish Hall in Gateshead on Wednesday 7th May to provide a warm welcome and hot, freshly cooked food to anyone in need. We have 30 volunteers who work on a three weekly rota. All the volunteers have undergone Food Hygiene training and are DBS cleared to work with vulnerable adults.
Parishioners throughout Gateshead have generously supported this project by donating canned and dried food for our store cupboard. Each week we supplement these supplies by purchasing fresh food items like milk, bread, salad and fruit. We are currently looking at ways to raise funds, perhaps through cash grants, so that we can continue to supplement the ‘store cupboard basics’ with the necessary fresh food items.
The 5p bus is coming every month to enable our visitors to obtain clothing, shoes etc. We also endeavour to provide information about other services to meet the different needs of those coming to Joe’s Place.
Joe’s Place is proving to be a great success and there is obviously a real need for the work being done there. Approximately 90 meals are served every Wednesday, and at times 50 people have been seated in the hall. We anticipate that numbers may grow as winter approaches.
Our visitors receive a warm welcome, enjoy companionship and are served nutritious food. They are truly appreciative of all that is done for them. It has been humbling to see how many people of all ages are in need of a safe, welcoming place and a hot meal.
The generous support of parishioners is enabling us to reach out to help some of the many vulnerable, lonely and needy people in our area. Together we are all trying to live out Christ’s message of ‘loving our neighbour’.
We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the priests and parishioners for their support. We ask you all to keep this vital project in your prayers and to continue to help to provide practical support for those in need in our local area.

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