With temperatures this week reaching sub zero every evening. The Living Hope Hub Christian Based Homeless Charity, who operate from Union Coffee in Hereford have had an extremely busy week.
Matt Healey from Your Herefordshire was invited over to meet the team.
Co founder and trustee Vikki Thomas told Matt “We started out last month to provide hot meals to rough sleepers, street homeless, sofa surfers and people in temporary accommodation across the city. I wanted to make a difference to people who needed our support, but it has surpassed expectations. Yesterday we were really busy and served around 25 meals”
On the menu tonight was pasta and a selection of delicious doughnuts and cakes.
Matt asked Vikki where the food is sourced from? “It’s all through donations, local companies like The Green Dragon, Cotto, La~de Kitchen and The Beefy Boys have been really supportive, and we have also had lots of help from St Martins Food Share, The Christian Life Church and St Peters and St James Church, we have our own community here and the volunteers here are absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t do it without their support”
Matt talked to John* who told us that the charity has been an absolute blessing for him. “The food is amazing, and in fact since coming here I have put weight on. I struggle with depression and get really bad anxiety. Being able to come here every evening gives me a routine and it gets me mixing with people. Everybody is there for each other and we all look out for one another and can signpost to make sure we get the right support”
Food is served seven days a week between 6-8pm and provides a warm and safe environment.
Another person who uses the charity is Josef*, he openly admits to being a complete mess when he arrived. He told Your Herefordshire “My life was in complete turmoil, In just one day I lost my wife, job , house and car. To cope I turned to drink and drugs. I was sleeping rough near the duck pond and one evening I walked past the building and was welcomed in. Vikki and the team have taken me under their wing and have been supporting me in getting back on my feet again”
Josef added “I found about the homeless shelter on Symonds Street and have been staying there. I also want to thank the person who before Christmas saw me on a park bench by the duck pond and could see I was struggling. It was so cold I felt my body shutting down, whoever it was gave me a thermal coat and trousers and he saved my life. The staff here are brilliant and it’s lovely to realise there are still some genuine people around”
Vikki added “I want to say thank you to City Church. In particular Darren and Esther who have given us their premises to use, we will be running until the end of March 2024, but if the weather is still bad, it may be a little longer”
If you would like to volunteer, or are a business that would like to provide food donations. You can contact Vikki below. Or take a look at their website www.thelivinghope.org.uk
*Names have been changed to protect the identity