Today I had a coffee and chat with a great guy. He's fairly young, articulate, bright, good looking and well dressed. We spent around half an hour chatting over our coffee, and during that time he shared with me some of his hopes for the future. He talked about how he'd done pretty well at school and that he hoped for a career that would challenge him and give him the kind of income he needed. He talked of his girlfriend and his hope of finding a home that they could move into together. In one respect there was nothing unusual about his hopes and dreams - they are similar to what most people look for in life.
You might be surprised when I tell you where the conversation took place, as it wasn't in a cosy coffee shop - it was in a Foodbank. This bright, articulate young man is homeless. His dream of having a job that provides the kind of income he needs is having a minimum wage job. In his words, 'minimum wage is enough for me, it's more than I have now'. All he wanted was a bit of stability. Is that too much to ask for?
His story (like many of the stories I've heard at the Foodbank) shines a spotlight on the injustices and inadequacies within our society and welfare system. There are people who fall through the gaps and seem to lie forgotten. They are not just statistics, they are real people. Each one with a story. And when you meet the people, instead of debating the reason for 'the problem' you find that they are just normal folk who've hit a rough patch. They are our neighbours.
Thank God for the Foodbanks, the Churches, the Citizens Advice Bureau and the like who work selflessly to reach out and let people know that they are important, the are worth something, they deserve respect.
(Blog posted with permission).