PINKTOBER - DAY 10 & WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY
Today being Monday and back from our holiday, I’m sure you can guess where I was today - yes, the Community Fridge! It’s always great to go away on holiday, and we had a lovely relaxing time in North Yorkshire, but it’s good to get home too and back into one’s routine and I was excited about going back.
As soon as I walked into the Community Fridge, someone said that there were lettuces, cabbages and apples to sort out, so you know me, I just got on with the job and it wasn’t as grotty as some weeks! We had a new volunteer and he was a great asset - as well as the normal volunteers, again who just get on with doing the various jobs that need doing and there is always great camaraderie amongst us, and often a lot of teasing goes on!
Just before 11 o’clock, we always gather in the kitchen for prayer - and my prayer today was that all those who walked through the doors would know and feel the love of God and that we would treat them all as special.
The whole place was buzzing this morning because being World Mental Health Day, there were lots of different people from various agencies in the town who were there to help anyone who had mental health issues of any kind. These included MIND, Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Trust, Voluntary Action Swindon and Citizens' Advice Bureau. All the people from these agencies were willing and able to provide mental health advice, support and services for anyone experiencing mental problems, and they were all very approachable and happy to be able to help. They were encouraging people to “Make a Pledge”, write it down, and put it on their brightly lit tree - something that would support themselves, their family, a friend or neighbour, school, college or workplace and I noticed that many had done this.
The two ladies from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau were lovely and very chatty, and it was good to see that the people who came into the Community Fridge Café were speaking to them about different ways in which they could be helped, not only by them, but also by the people from the various Mental Health Agencies. As people came in - and as volunteers - we were encouraging them to go and have a cup of coffee and a cake and then speak to someone, which we were delighted to see that many did.
Of course, we realise that not everyone wants to talk about the issues they are facing, but I really feel that with so many friendly, smiling faces around, it means that they are more likely to chat with us - and after all, that’s what we are there for - not only to feed them with the produce they take away each week, but also to show the love of God to everyone who walks in the door, whatever their religion or situation.
I chatted to one man from the NHS Mental Health service, and when I picked up a couple of leaflets in Polish and Chinese relating to depression and anxiety, I explained that we had an iCafé starting on Thursday for 6 weeks, so that those whose first language is not English could come and learn English and also something about our customs and culture, and that the leaflets might be helpful. He then said that he would be willing to come and speak to this new group if we thought it would be helpful and in any event, he was going to come every couple of weeks to the Community Fridge.
Of course, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I really enjoyed my morning - however, Reeth also enjoyed being there with me - and got into lots of mischief amongst the lettuces, apples, peppers and bananas. You all know by now that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I am delighted that so many are clicking HERE each day so that those who cannot afford to pay for a mammogram may have a free one. Well done!
The middle shot in my collage is a banner in our Church - with a pink background, of course - and I believe that Jesus gives us joy, freedom, hope, peace, life and love, especially in today’s difficult and challenging situations, and I was privileged to be able to pray with a man who came into the Community Fridge today and specifically asked for someone to pray with him.
“Seeds of faith are always within us;
sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish
and encourage their growth.”