Paying Gratitude Forward
In November 2009, I had a major breakthrough in my mental health after over 15 years of depression. I felt like I was finally coming up for air after being held under deep dark waters, and that feeling of relief was followed by a deep sense of gratitude that I could simply pick up my life where I left off, and that all that my basic human needs were taken care of without me giving them a second thought.
I was looking for a way to channel this into positive action, rather than simply enjoying the feeling, and the Universe responded. I found out that my beloved late Grandma was part of a group making sandwiches for the homeless. I was inspired by the idea of many hands and hearts joining together to serve a community of people who were not able to meet their own basic needs. I set up Club Sandwich, a monthly gathering of volunteers who would bring whatever bread and filling they could afford, and together we would make sandwiches for the homeless friends served by New Hope Trust in Watford. As well as the fillings we would spread onto the sandwiches, a lot of love was spread too, including the venue we had gifted to us by Maxwell Park Community Centre, and the delivery services of George Christodoulou of Toross 4. We received donations from a variety of wonderful people, including the wonderful Daniel Aaron, who was taken from this world too soon.
We grew into a wonderful team, and as my journey into gratitude deepened, I wanted to bring it into our volunteering too. We would start our sessions with being present with our gifts and blessings, and appreciating that we had the privilege of being on the side that gives. I soon started to feel that sandwiches, no matter how much love we put into them, were not enough, so I came up with some projects that were a little more sustainable.
Since then we have had Blankets & Blessings, Shoebox Shenanigans, Operation Uplift and more. Watch this space for details. In them meantime, I would like to send out my deepest gratitude to all our volunteers, and in particular those who have helped me keep the club running over the years! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“We estimate that the sandwiches Club Sandwich have prepared and given over the years have saved us over £2,000.”
Matthew Heasman, CEO, New Hope