Steps of Hope is a voluntary group of Christians from different Churches, who work as a team to provide food, toiletries, and clothes to the homeless in Liverpool City Centre. The team have, over the years, also provided emotional support, through letters (for the ones in hostels) and phone calls, and prayer through building relationships with our friends.
Before Covid-19, we were called the trolley dollies, as everything for our friends, such as toiletries, clothes, drinks, and food such, as sandwiches, crisps, biscuits and lots of chocolate, were all in pull-along trolleys. We followed a certain route which our friends soon got to know. Some of them used the night shelter called Labre House, where, once a month the team cooked a meal for as many as 75/80 for which the staff, and the recipients were grateful. A Sunday afternoon bible study was also set up for our friends to meet at the Tree of Life Christian Book Shop in Slater Street in Liverpool. There was lots of cake, drinks and a place for them to meet and listen to short bible messages and testimonies. The work has evolved to accommodate the needs of our friends on the streets.
All this changed as the country went into lockdown at the end of March. At the start of Covid-19 lockdown, The Whitechapel Centre moved the rough sleepers into self- contained accommodation and our visits to Liverpool were cancelled in line with Government guidelines.
There is definitely a spirituality among the homeless, some of them are open to reading literature and gospels, which we provide for those who want them, a lady has joined the team after being homeless herself, she is now in her own house and has given her life to the Lord.
After risk assessments were prepared, at the end of June, it was decided to work from the Tree of Life bookshop. We offer hot stew, sandwiches, fruit, cake and chocolate biscuits in take away bags each week on a Tuesday 4.30 – 6.00 pm. Downstairs in the basement all the toiletries and clothes are kept. There are about 8/9 people each week. Two people take orders for food and drinks outside, with tables between shop and friends, runners take food and drink to them, one person ladles the stew into take away cups and is served with a spoon. One person sorts the drinks out, one person is given orders for toiletries and clothes. We are fortunate to have a couple join our team who are outside conversing, listening, and offering prayer to all our friends, this has been amazing as they are truly gifted, and we in turn can learn more about their hardships and concerns.
A prayer chain receives all the names of the people we meet and pray for them each week, we are also covered in prayer each week.
Steps of Hope would like to thank Greasby Methodist Church for all their donations of money and clothing to support this outreach work. We will continue to work from Tree of Life bookshop during this second lockdown as the café will be open for takeaway only. It is amazing how God has provided, and blessed this work, and it is a privilege to be part of it.