Rustington man launches volunteer soup run to help the homeless in West Sussex

A Rustington man who was once homeless has started a soup run for people living on the streets in West Sussex.

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 2:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th October 2020, 2:27 pm

Having set up the project from home using their own resources, Joey Barnett began by distributing hot soup, bread, tea, coffee and homemade cakes in different towns each Friday.

His efforts touched people’s hearts and Joey has now launched a GoFundMe appeal, so he and his wife Sam can do more for the homeless community.

He said: “I started this on my own and didn’t think I would catch so many people’s hearts. I feel it’s time for me to give something back to the community and help those that need the help.

Joey Barnett on his Bognor soup run

“I have actually been homeless myself, so I have a good experience and know how to approach the homeless and have a chat with them. We hear some heartbreaking stories.

“We are looking into maybe opening a soup kitchen in the near future. The Covid is slowing things down but we still walk the streets at night to find and feed these guys. The weather is changing and we will be handing out blankets, too.”

Joey is a peer mentor counsellor, helping people with addictions, and with the current rate of homelessness at a national high, he wanted to help feed as many people on the streets as possible.

He said: “All donations will be put towards the cost of supplying all these items. We go out on Fridays at the moment. We choose different areas each time.

“The satisfaction I get from feeding the homeless is priceless. I have big plans for the future, things like opening a soup kitchen using a hall or maybe a shop. I have a friend that is prepared to give advice to the homeless. This is what I enjoy doing, helping those that need my help.

“We walk down many dark, cold backstreets to find the homeless. I have lots of experience of being homeless and how to approach the homeless and have a chat with them.

“I have a very good judge of character and I can calm situations down with my kind words of wisdom. I speak to many homeless people and ask how they ended up homeless. The thanks we get from them is out of this world. Some of the stories are heartbreaking.

“Here’s an example, one guy was chatting to us and said just six months earlier he had a three-bedroom house with his partner and two kids, he had a job and all the nice things in life. But addiction got the better of him and he hit hard times, lost his job. His misses kicked him out and depression set in. He ended up living in a shop doorway with nothing.”

For more information, updates and to make a donation, visit uk.gofundme.com/f/Joe-Sams-soup-kitchen-for-the-homeless

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