How will you give strength and hope to people this Christmas?
Can you believe it’s December already? Seems like only yesterday I was sharing with you some of the amazing results of your faithful support. Your donations are helping create such uplifting changes for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
However, come Christmas, while many of us are sending happy Christmas emails and planning delightful family lunches, some are still facing several weeks of sheer loneliness and frightening isolation – people estranged from their families, forced to sleep rough on wet cardboard instead of warm beds of their own.
Kat’z used to be one of those people. She took to the streets when she was young, fleeing from an unsafe home and choosing instead to take her chances sleeping rough.
“I ran away from home because the streets felt safer,” she says. “But life on the streets is also hard – finding a dry place to sleep, a comfortable place to sleep where you did not get looked at; and not knowing where your next feed is.”
Lifewise Merge Café was there for Kat’z. Our café on K’ Road provides a safe, warm space.
For people who have been dealt a tough hand, Merge Café is more than just a comforting daily local, providing warm, nutritious meals in a safe, non-judgmental space. Merge Café also offers a path towards independence and a future full of hope and promise. This is the path that Kat’z, describes in her story:
“Lifewise walked alongside me to get off the streets. Not having my own space, knowing what the streets are like, knowing all the predators out there, knowing it’s hard being a woman … I didn’t wanna be a victim anymore.”
With the support and community that Kat’z found at Lifewise Merge Café, she now feels empowered and confident to rent a home. In fact, Kat’z feels strong enough to also support others who are finding it hard to get off the streets and become independent; Kat’z is now a Merge Community Peer Support Volunteer.
“With Lifewise, I was able to build my path to my own recovery, maintain my behaviour, my addictions, and my attitude. I learned how to work with different people – we all may be streeties, we might fit the same criteria, but none of us are the same. So I learned how to use the differences and turn them into strengths.”
Kat’z, as part of a team of Merge Community Peer Support volunteers, meets with and walks alongside dozens of Aucklanders every week. Kat’z is more than a friend or whanau; she is the strength and hope that every homeless person needs to lift themselves up and out of the streets.
“I work with the homeless, my people, my family, because I know the hurt, the mamae.”
“How do I feel now? A lot more positive. Less depressed. Proactive. Finding solutions.”
Kat’z said to us, “I didn’t know I had a future till I met you.” And she says there are other young people who are finding it hard to stand on their own two feet again. Kat’z knows what that’s like and wants to support them, but to do that she needs your help.
“I can’t stop supporting my whanau, and I need resources like Lifewise Merge Café to do that.”
With your gift, Kat’z and the young people she supports can break out of the vicious cycle of homelessness towards a future full of hope.
Chief Executive, Lifewise
P.S. Please donate today and support powerful change amongst people who face hardships and challenges – your gift could make all the difference in turning a life around.