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May seems to have been a month where a lot of people are thinking about how to raise awareness about and help the homeless. A number of people I know participated in the Live Below the Line fundraiser, including a girl from youth group, and three guys from college who not only lived on $2 a day, but actually went and lived at Central for a few nights (you can read Dan’s thoughts about it on his blog).

I participated in Hope Month. My childhood friend Kate had this brilliant idea. People would put on a meal of some sort and invite their friends to buy a seat at the table, with all the money going to Hope Street, an initiative of the Baptist Churches of NSW and ACT. Here is a bit about what Hope Street does:

HopeStreet – Urban Compassion is a grass-roots community development organisation that works with people living on the margins of inner city Sydney – people who are homeless, destitute or living in poverty. We work at street level where the needs are greatest. And we are committed to empowering people to take control of their own lives, not just giving handouts. We help them to build their independence and advocate for the rights that most Australians take for granted.

I remembered Hope Street from when Karen and I visited the market they hosted in Campbell Street, Surry Hills (the market eventually went its own way and became Finders Keepers). I bought a little perspex sign at that market (top pic), which hangs in my bedroom, and reminds me what a powerful thing hope is, but also how sometimes we can lose all sight of it, and we just need to be shown that hope – for change, for redemption – is still there. I’m all for supporting those who are doing the hard work of helping people who seem to have lost all hope; I am often chastened to realise how little I think about about these people who are all around us.

table setting

When I heard about Kate’s initiative for Hope Month I signed up to host a meal straight away. I had a wonderful time preparing and cooking for it! I went to the Eveleigh Markets in the morning and bought some delicious bits and pieces, came home and cooked up Moroccan chicken and cous cous, with sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

the feast (pic by Karen)

It gave me great pleasure to put together a yummy, nourishing meal and to feed my dear, dear friends. And I was so glad that they got behind the cause and we made a small contribution to helping the homeless. It was kind of the opposite of living on $2 a day, but I think the more people doing anything at all to help those in the grip of poverty, the better.

Even though the dinner’s over, if you want to make a contribution to Hope Street (however big or small!) I think you can still do it via my Hope Month page – just click the ‘make a donation’ button. Otherwise you can do it via Hope Street directly.