Early last week, Cem Baris, Ian Palmer, Darren Burns and I headed off to West London to volunteer at the Acton Homeless Concern Centre.
On arrival we were greeted by Carol who controls the kitchen, and Iain who chairs the charity. Following a 30 second intro into who they are, what they do and how they are funded (the Irish Gov!), we were summoned to our respective posts.
With one look they were able to immediately recognise our strengths/skills and position us accordingly.
Once that was over, we had a brief period to sit down with a cup of tea, before the lunch time session began. The doors reopened, floods of individuals began trickling through - in total about 200 were seated and fed lunch. With the charity offering free food and clothes, you can imagine at times, it was pandemonium. Despite hoards of people coming and going, the newbie volunteers remained calm and collected, working hard to provide food, and make space for the next person. At times, Ian needed a nudge, as he was often distracted, flirting with both Rose and Winny, two of the regular angels who dedicate their times to this fantastic charity.
It isn't until you dedicate your own personal time to charities such as the Acton Homeless Centre that you realise how lucky a life you have. Everyone goes through their own relative hardships, but the people we were helping have nothing, or very little to their name, and therefore, rely on donations to prevent them from starving and/or freezing to death. It is a timely reminder, that whilst hard work can offer a better life, not everyone has the footing to create that opportunity. As such, it is important to now and again remind yourself of this and spend time offering something back.
The Morgan McKinley Millions offers everyone this exact opportunity. Whilst the experience may be daunting to you at first, volunteering your time is both a rewarding and fulfilling experience. I highly recommend it!