Marion Kenyon from Northfield in Birmingham heard of the many families that were temporarily housed at a nearby Travelodge. She decided to host a picnic for the displaced families.
Homelessness is an ironic plague that is taking over many parts of the world. In America alone, it is estimated that over 553,742 people are homeless. Now, imagine being a family that has no home to call their own. That is a shocking reality for many families in Birmingham.
HuffPost reports that Marion Kenyon from Northfield in Birmingham heard of the many families that were temporarily housed at a nearby Travelodge. The 52-year-old decided to host a picnic for the displaced families so that she could sit down, eat and chat with the families. Marion wanted to see how she could be of help to the families.
Speaking to HuffPost UK, Marion said: "I was horrified that there were people living in the local Travelodge. It didn’t feel right to me." Marion is the chief executive of New Start, as well as an associate pastor of Hollymoor community church.
After reading about the displaced families in the newspaper, Marion decided to host a picnic recently. She asked the families about what they needed, instead of making an assumption about what they need, something that a lot of charities do. Marion wanted the families to feel like they were a part of the community.
Marion decided to host a picnic for five adult families and nine children, where the happy families were treated to chips, cakes, fresh fruits, and sandwiches. She was joined by her husband, a volunteer from the children's center, as well as other volunteer members of the community.
One of the community members had personally been through a similar situation. "She felt like she had to come along as she knew how awful it was," said Marion. "She wanted to tell them there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Some of the families have been there for months."
The group decided to sit outside the hotel, and as some of the families passed them by, Marion and her picnic group called them over to join them. Marion even included some board games for the children. She even brought the young children some paper and color pencils. "One of the parents said to me: ‘I’ve not seen the children playing like this for ages’," said Marion.
When she spoke with the families, Marion realized that the things that they needed to do the most were the basics: doing their laundry and cooking a good meal. The displaced families were doing their washing in the bath, and for their meals, they mostly ate take out and Pot Noodles, a meal made using a hot kettle.
"What was concerning for me is that many are on low incomes, so how can they afford takeaways?" said Marion. "It’s just causing greater poverty by putting them in that situation." The families left the picnics in better spirits, and took home some fruits, cakes as well as sandwiches.
Marion isn't going to stop with one picnic. She plans to host more picnics in the future and is encouraging others to do the same. She says that it's simple enough to organize over a couple of days, and the expenses are easy on the wallet as well. "If nothing else it says to them: we care about you, you’re not forgotten'" said Marion, "We know you’re here. We can’t wave a magic wand and change things, but what we can do is come along and be your friends."Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.