Friday 25th June I went to Mustard Tree for my second soup run. I arrived at 6:30 to help prepare and there were young offenders there preparing sandwiches. They laughed when they were introduced as young offenders and said as a joke, “hide your bags.”
Then I hid my bag.
They were there with their leader as part of their community programme. They did not want to be there.
When we arrived we had to wait a while for the van of food to turn up so we had an opportunity to chat to some of the people waiting. I spoke to a man called John from Belfast, he came over to Manchester for a weekend 4 years ago and has stayed ever since. He works at the Trafford centre at nights putting up shops and hopes to start his own business one day.
There were about 30 people there. We started handing out the food. I’m starting to recognise a few faces now.
There was a woman in a full length black dress with a shawl, she helped an elderly man to get his food and sat with him for half an hour while her food went cold. She said it costs nothing to spend 5 minutes keeping an old friend company.
I met a man called Jack, he asked if I recognised him from Britain’s got Talent. He said he could sing, dance and play the harmonica, he even did a little dance there and then. I asked him his name again and told him I would look on youtube to see if I could find him. Right enough, there were 10 videos as Manchester’s dancing man. There were newspaper articles on him about how the queen had replied to his letter about him not getting through the audition stages of Britain’s got Talent.
Jack kindly offered his services and said he would dance for any occasion and he would be happy to dance for any charity event for free. He told me to leave a note in a pub in Picadilly and he would call me back.
I hope I see Jack again.
A man sits in his car with four street workers. He doesn’t want the girls out of the car unless they are working. Our leader takes the food over to them.
I watch the same girl from last week standing in a car park waiting. This is something I struggle to get my head around.
Everyone seemed really grateful for the food and drinks provided and it comes across as quite a social occasion.