FRIDAY 5th JUNE 2020:
Hang on - UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL ! How does that fit in with social distancing ?
I am not talking about bodies breaking government guidelines on social distancing. I am talking about hearts and love trashing any and all levels of distance to get up close and personal.
Writing now I am inviting you to get your heart up close and personal to someone who needs the greatest possible love of one human being to an other.
On 5th July, one week today, the government is going to STOP paying for our homeless rough-sleeping friends to be accommodated in hotels. It claims that it will fund local authorities to find longer-term homes for our friends. PERHAPS. When it comes to Milton Keynes Council this authority has a long record of failure, a very long term record of failure. Even if it does suddenly magic accommodation do you seriously think this will work ? Milton Keynes Council does not have first idea when it comes to dealing with our friends. Putting a roof over someone's head is NOT the answer.
We are looking to re-opening the DREAMSAI LUNCH OF LOVE on Saturday 11th July. Thatis FIVE weeks away as of tomorrow. NOW is the time to see how many people we can find who will support this beautiful event each Saturday. Yesterday I had a very long telephone chat with Laxman, the head of Dreamsai, and on Tuesday Julie - Queen Of The Kettle, Jelena and I plan to have a socially distanced brainstorm chat in the open air.PLEASE DO NOT LET IT RAIN.
For those who do not know what The Dreamsai Lunch Of Love is all about let me explain.
The Indian teacher Sai talked about loving one another and ways in which we should do this. That's a very simple resume. Food For Sai - is one project following his teaching, I then re-christened this DREAMSAI LUNCH OF LOVE.
It happens every Saturday at The Buzzy in Central Milton Keynes.
I call it the LUNCH OF LOVE but it is not just food.
Yes we do serve food at the lunch but the word LOVE is what it is all about.
EVERYTHING - YES EVERYTHING is up close and personal.
So how up close and personal are you prepared to get. I would like to share some of my brainstorm thinking, talk with Julie and Lena then offer up what we all think to Laxman atDreamsai.
Before I share initial ideas can I explain that our LUNCH OF LOVE is open to anyone and everyone. It is just not for our homeless and rough-sleeping friends. it does not matter if you have a single penny or an American Express Gold Card in your pocket everyone is welcome. Some come because they are hungry, some come because their are lonely, some come because they are feeling depressed and need something positive in their lives, some are looking for help, some are looking for friendship. As we came to lock down we were just starting to work with the probation service and support ex-offenders. FEED THE MIND - FEED THE BELLY - FEED THE HEART.
WHERE DOES ALL THIS HAPPEN ? It happens at The Buzzy - Unity Park Bus Station. The old bus station in Central Milton Keynes by the railway station.
WHEN DOES IT HAPPEN ? Every Saturday 12.30pm to 1.30pm. People, however, always turn up early and many are not ready to leave at the end of the session. My personal suggestion is that we extend opening hours to 12noon to 2pm with 30 minutes set up and tidy up time.
FOOD: Dreamsai volunteers prepare meals at home which are microwaved and served hot at the session. As well as tea and coffee we provide cold soft drinks and cup-a-soup. We provide cake and biscuits. We were asked for toasties which became the most popular item on the menu. We provided cheese and ham toasties. We were just about to buy a second toasting machine when lock down came in.
I think it would be nice if we added to the menu hot dogs, apple pie and custard and ice cream.
PACKED TEA: We provide packed teas for people to take away. Each contains sandwiches - cheese, ham, chocolate spread, jam. Chocolate bar. Sausage roll. Item of fruit. Doughnut. Cake. Loose sweets. Packet of crisps.
WALK OF LOVE: At the end of the lunch we go round the tents and sleeping bags of friends who have not joined us giving them a packed tea.
TOMBOLA OF LOVE: Everyone gets a free tombola ticket with every ticket as a winner. Prizes are simple packets of sweets. We usually have thirty prizes. We need to have one or two higher value items.
DAVE'S DISCO: My radio show from the previous Thursday is played as background music. Guests can make requests for the following week's show.
FREEBIE BOX: This is a simple box of donated clothing items guests can take away.
PHONE CHARGING: Guests do plug in phone chargers. I suggest we have a small multi-socket unit set up as a charging bank. We provide £5 SIM cards to those who have no credit and no money to buy credit
PROJECT RONALD: Guests were being invited to sign cards of love to send to families with a child sick in hospital, the families staying in Ronald McDonald Houses. We then took the signed cards away to process them. I am suggesting that we make a much bigger thing of this. Once the cards are signed we laminate them during the session then pack them into groups of 50 to post to different Ronald McDonald Houses. We have certificates for those signing cards: Bronze - 25 Silver - 50 Gold - 100 These we can run across sessions BUT I am suggesting A FIVER OF LOVE. Every single guest who signs five cards is entered into a free prize draw. They get one entry for every five cards they sign. At the end of the session the winner is drawn to win FIVE x £1 National Lottery Scratch Cards.
OK I am going to leave it there right now. Tell me what you think. More tomorrow.