In Emmaus, solidarity means working to help someone less fortunate than yourself.
This can be very valuable for Emmaus companions as it is often key to helping to rebuild self-esteem, proving that everyone has the capacity to make a difference to the lives of others.
Every Wednesday evening, staff, volunteers and companions prepare food to distribute to rough sleepers in Gloucester city centre. This has now become a companion led activity, and offers the opportunity for people to help others who are in the position that they once were.
We are always looking for volunteers to join us on our weekly soup run. Get in touch if interested.
Will, who has been receiving support from Emmaus Gloucestershire for over two years helps every week on the soup run.
“My life before Emmaus was pretty miserable. I got addicted to drugs and that was my focus. I’d spend all the money I earned and sell any possessions that I had to buy drugs. Everything I did was to fuel my drug addiction.”
Before joining Emmaus, Will would stay in hostels when they had space: “There’s a huge difference between a hostel and an Emmaus community. The support I receive from Emmaus has been brilliant; they get to know you and figure out the right kind of support for you. There was no real structure in hostels, and I was left to my own devices. When boredom set in, I would fall back into bad habits, and in my case, drug use.”
As a companion, Will now has a home for as long as he needs, and the opportunity to gain work experience to learn new skills and rebuild his confidence and self-esteem: “At Emmaus I have a role within one of our shops. I’m responsible for sorting all the clothing when donations arrive, ensuring that it’s ready for sale. I have worked all my life, and I enjoy the responsibility and trust that Emmaus has given me.”
Over time, Will began to rebuild his life and wanted to give back to the charity that helped him while helping others who are still in the position he once was: “I volunteer once a week at the soup kitchen in Gloucester city centre. My fellow companions and I now lead on this activity, loading up the van with food and rucksacks filled with essentials for up to 40 people each week.”
Will, Emmaus Gloucestershire companion.
“I feel like I’m making a real difference by helping with the soup run. It reminds me of the times that I was on the other side of the table – I too accepted help in the same way and I remember how it felt to receive the kindness of strangers.”
As well as distributing hot food to rough sleepers, throughout the year we collect and encourage the public to donate essential winter and summer items to give to rough sleepers to help them survive extreme temperatures.
These items are given to people in rucksacks every week at the soup run.