“Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how expensive it is to be poor.”
It was rainy, dark and bleak. The town centre was bustling though. My team Scintilla Cricket Club had taken on the soup kitchen duties for the night. Our club captain Ahmed, Tahmina and little Aliana had prepared massive pots of delectable and delicious bhuna kichuri with beef stew. The aroma from the boot of the car during the journey over had driven me crazy. I plotted to have a bit at some point before the shift was over.
The guests were there waiting and they were ravenous. Before we’d even set up the stall we had a massive assembly build up. Usually our friends lend a helping hand carrying the table, water and food over, or they stay a short distance and patiently let us get it all together. Today was different. They were all really hungry, there was an urgency, and they came right up close, forming a large huddle around us. Onlookers and tourists stopped to see what was going on.
We had two massive pots of food and it all flew off the shelf. We had to get extra drinks to keep up. The overall atmosphere was vivacious and a vivid. The team were buoyed and vibrant throughout. “I hope you’re all here again next week,” said Rosie to first team skipper Ayaz.
Amanda told me how happy she was after being interviewed by Tom Parmenter last week for Sky News. Billy asked about joining the team. Paul was in a hurry and left with his food. In between serving I counted 57 guests served.
Sport has the capacity to deliver amazing change and I’m bursting with pride that my team mates joined me on the soup kitchen tonight. At Scintilla Cricket Club it’s a lot more than just sport, and we all take our social responsibilities very seriously. The club are champions on and off the pitch and set a fantastic example of good citizenship and community engagement. I hope this inspires other teams to do the same – that would be pretty awesome.
This was the team’s first experience of serving homeless guests and they were like ducks to water. They chatted to guests, served them food and water and their general intermingling with the masses proved very popular. After all, let’s not forget that for many of our homeless guests these positive vibes are often rare experiences for them. Many guests tell me that they look forward to the interaction just as much as the delicious food. We even recruited a new volunteer tonight – a young chap called Luke.
I never did get to taste the lavish fare on offer tonight. Ashraful and second team skipper Riadh dished up the last serving to one final guest.
•If you’d like to help out please tweet me @emdad07.