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Guest Blog
Homelessness
Volunteering
Walsall

Guest Blog - The Big Feed, Walsall

We hear from our colleague Allan Boot about some of the great work happening at the Big Feed in Walsall

The Big Feed is a charity run project backed by Walsall Community Church and other local churches in Walsall

Our aim is to help support the homeless, marginalised, vulnerable and under-privileged people of Walsall and its surrounding areas. We provide food, clothing, toilet and shower facilities, advice and a friendly face to those who need it most.

We use Midland Road Baptist Church to support about 70-80 guests each Sunday that we are open and we have had over 120 people on many Sundays in the past. We open the doors to guests at 12:00 and we close the doors at 3pm and during this time a guest can a main meal (and we have some excellent food) and a desert and as many hot drinks as they want. Seconds are usually called about 2pm and a number of guests are always asking and waiting for this!

Our guests, feel that they are welcomed and loved by the Big Feed team and always appreciate the time and effort that we give to them each week.

Each Sunday we have a core team of volunteers that is over seen by team leaders and the volunteers are made up of people from local churches, schools, businesses and people who have used the Big Feed in the past and now want to give back to it.

Over the years we have had a big impact of people’s lives and a number of guests have become Christians and have been baptised. We have put volunteers through food hygiene and first aid training, which for some people has a big impact on their self-esteem.

Volunteers

18 months ago we used to be open every Sunday, but due to a change of family circumstances a set of leaders had to step down and the result being that we could only open for the first 3 Sundays of the month. Where there are 5 Sundays in the month, all the team leaders will contribute to the extra day in the month.

On a typical Sunday the leaders are in the building from about 9:30 till about 3:30 and will oversee the whole running of the day, from food preparation, to the serving of the food to ensuring the guests are ok and any issues that may arise. Volunteers can be there for the whole time or for part of the time. The volunteers can do a number of jobs, from food prep, serving food, making cups of tea, clearing tables, washing up, drying up, being a friendly ear, vacuuming and cleaning the toilets after the guests have gone. Volunteers are very important to us without them the Big Feed would not happen.

How to get involved
We are always looking for new volunteers, especially from local churches, as our guests quite often want to talk about their situations and need a friendly ear to listen and they most of the time will be happy to be prayed for when it is offered. People who want to volunteer only have to volunteer once a month and will be placed on a team that they will usually be with each month.

MORE IMPORTANTLY we a desperate for another set of leaders to help run a Sunday team, as one of current set of leaders are going to have to step down for a while due to health issues and we do not know how long this would be.

If this happens, the Big Feed will only be open for 2 Sundays a month and we would most likely lose a number of our volunteers. We would also most likely be unable to open on the extra day when there is a 5th Sunday of the month and this would be to the detriment to our guests who often have nowhere to get a meal on a Sunday, somewhere to be out of the bad weather, somewhere to chill out and relax.

Me personally, I see my time at the Big Feed on a Sunday as being in Church, as it is where Jesus would have been.

If anyone is interested in seeing the Big Feed in action or wants to get involved please get in touch with me, especially if you think you could help lead a team!!!!

Regards Allan Boot

I see my time at the Big Feed on a Sunday as being in Church, as it is where Jesus would have been.