One wet, winter day in December 2020 we received an email from a lady who is a guest in Matthew’s House. She was reaching out for help because she was hungry and struggling. As the email went on, we found out that she had many other complications as well as hunger, which meant that she was physically unable to leave the room at the B&B where she had been temporarily housed. We were instantly able to send some food down with a volunteer. We shared her story with a network of places that serve Swansea 7 days a week so that they could drop food down to her as well. Each day that she had a meal she would email to say that she was in absolute awe at the generosity, kindness, and support that we had given her.

Another day of emailing and her story was really pulling on the heart strings of the Matthew’s House team. We wanted to investigate why this was happening. Why was this lady in a B&B when she couldn’t actually get out of it? Who had put her there? How did she end up there and how could we get her out? With a few more food parcels and the relationship growing with this guest, we managed to link her up with our friends in Housing Options. We carried on sending food to Jean and as her story unfolded, the difficulty and worry that she was going through became clearer. She was actually awaiting spinal surgery; that’s why she couldn’t get to us!

The beauty in all of this is that we managed to keep her filled up with some delicious food, keep her encouraged through our emails back and forth and were able to connect her with those who could help her to move on to a safer place, where she could work out where to go next with her life. That’s the beauty of being available; the beauty of lots of people knowing about Matthew’s House and the work that we do, especially those people who need us. It originally started with another guest getting Jean’s first couple of meal packs for her and sharing information about how we could support her. The courage Jean found to send that first email asking for our support led to more positive steps in her improving the difficult situation she was in.

Here are a few words Jean shared with us on email. One day when we open back up, we hope to welcome her to Matthew’s House. “Thank you for that wonderful gift you give to all of us and feeding us and providing for us.”