Sarah Wiley has just finished 2 ½ years of volunteering with King’s Care. She writes, “What are your preconceptions about King’s Care? Mine were that I’d just be doing jobs like handing out plates and filling washing machines. I thought it would be a good thing to help the poorest people in our city."
"I wasn’t expecting to experience an extraordinary outpouring of God’s peace and love amongst our guests and the team as we listened to their stories, gave them dignity and hope, and brought many face to face with the gospel of Jesus, which many of our guests are more than willing to hear. Yes, I have switched on many washing machines, but the whole experience was far greater than that. It’s been such a privilege to be greeted around town by those I’ve met through King’s Care, and I have learnt so much about hardship, need, despair and resilience. I am grateful to have been involved. Indeed the opportunity has even redirected my career path: next year I will be switching from the subject I am currently studying to psychology.”
Last year – even through some big changes in the project, and shortages of resources – we continued to provide excellent hospitality to an average of 60 homeless and vulnerably housed people each Sunday. We served 525+ different people, 2380 hot meals, 210+ loads of laundry, 210+ showers, 200+ sets of clothes.
48 of those guests attended our regular ‘God Story’ group, as many as 16 guests each afternoon (on average, 8 a week). One guest who came regularly to the God Story chose to become a Christian this year and become a member of the church. He is now exploring joining the King’s Care team as a volunteer.
We got to know a Polish man a year ago, who came to Norfolk for work, which dried up after Christmas. After that he had to sleep rough as he had not worked long enough to be given benefits. He continued looking for work but his English was basic so he was not successful for months. Understandably, he was quite low a lot of the time. We involved him in volunteering on a Sunday afternoon and at the King’s Centre kitchen during the week, where he received a cooked meal each day he worked and also friendships with people who are not living on the streets. He successfully got paid work again this Christmas 2015, rented his own flat; and although the job again finished at Christmas, his landlord hired him to look after some of his properties. Now his circumstances have improved, we have discovered that he is a very upbeat guy, with a great sense of humour. Our friend has continued to help out regularly at King’s Care, bringing his lovely smile, lots of energy, and a good knowledge of where to find things for those of us who aren’t around as often!