At the Care Shelter, staff go out of their way to show kindness to the guests, believing that treating people well, with dignity and respect, is what any human being deserves, no matter their circumstances. Repeatedly, we are blown away by the kindness and generosity that guests show to each other and to the staff team. Here are a few examples.
A man in his early thirties turned up quite late one night, having walked all the way from Musselburgh to get a bed at the Care Shelter. He had used the shelter before and the staff knew him. While a bed was made ready for him, he sat and had a cup of coffee with two of the staff, chatting and sharing a bit about the hurt he is carrying. He arrived that night with nothing but a box of chocolates. He gave the chocolates to the staff team and headed to his bed saying, “I feel so much better for talking to you guys”.
The Care Shelter is currently operating with a capacity of 60 people per night and has unfortunately been full on a number of nights recently. Sadly, this means that people who arrive later on are not guaranteed a bed for the night. Two men arrived at exactly the same time one evening to the devastating news that there was one bed left. Both insisted that the other should take the bed. “No, honestly pal, you take it.” “No, no, you take it, I insist.” “No, you take it.” Incredible.
Another particularly busy night, an older man arrived to discover that there were not currently any beds available. He was advised to wait, in case anyone should leave, and he enjoyed a good, hot meal in the meantime. Another guest spotted him waiting and asked the staff, “Is that man not getting in?” The staff explained that currently the Care Shelter was full but the man was waiting to see if a bed became available. On hearing this, he gathered up his belongings and announced that he would leave. “I’m not having an old man sleeping on the streets,” he said, “He can have my bed!” He was given a sleeping bag and thanked profusely for his generosity and kindness. The older man was very grateful to have somewhere safe and warm for the night and was soon gently snoring in his bed.
On another occasion, a man had taken great delight in the hat he had picked up from the table of clothing donations. It was the last one, a lovely bright green one that he was so pleased with! A short while later someone else arrived and immediately asked if there were any hats. Before the staff could answer, the man with the bright green hat handed it over.
These acts of kindness are amazing; that someone who has so little is willing to hand over their hat, their box of chocolates or even their bed for the night.