He Leads me beside Still Waters

John Jack, a member of Tayside Christian Fellowship, is also the Chair with Still Waters Perth, a faith based registered charity and tells us more about them in this video and below!

Who are Still Waters?

Still Waters Perth provide a highly valued food distribution service with the organisation aim of providing “support and fellowship including the provision of food to persons in need.” Volunteer teams use the Still Waters van to collect excess food from bakeries and other food businesses to distribute to people living with accommodation and food insecurity in Perth every Saturday night. Still Waters call at three sites to serve and then drop off at three hostels and people depend on this service.

Still Waters offer vital companionship through non-judgmental conversations and care and signpost to useful services and sources of support. We use our vans mid-week to enable Letham Climate Challenge (a community reuse charity) to transport donated furniture to people moving from hostels to new tenancies. This extends the reach of our service and increases the van’s benefit.

Why do Still Waters do it?

The need for our service is increasing significantly. Even before the cost-of-living crisis escalated, we recorded a 25% rise in beneficiaries over the course of this last year. We now serve to 40-50 people per shift but feed more.

We are a non-judgmental service reaching out to feed and connect with people who are hungry, vulnerable, and isolated. Every week people tell us what our presence means to them. We know that without our service, people would face great hunger and despair.

What needs to be done?

We have a tried and tested approach to delivery to offer a critical, compassionate service that feeds and supports hungry people.

Our service is needed more than ever. We know this from:

  • Our own records,
  • Conversations with the people we serve and
  • The services and community organisations we work with

We are grateful for

The support of our volunteer team who give their time in the service of others

Why are we best placed to deliver this critical service?

We have delivered and developed our service since we registered as a charity in 2012. These quotes – in support of our service to people experiencing homelessness, poverty and adversity. They show the impact of our work:

“I was there for two and a half months. I relied on it [the food van] every week. I wasn’t on any benefits. I know a lot of other people relied on it too. I got sandwiches, yoghurts, milk, cakes and pastries. I would’ve starved if they hadn’t been there. I would’ve. Not much else could’ve been done… cause I didn’t know my way about I used to get staff to buzz us up when they came. Some Saturdays I sat impatiently waiting on them because I was hungry. Quite a lot other people do the same. It made a big difference. People do struggle in there with being hungry and it’s not just Greyfriars, it’s everywhere. They were a friendly face. You always got a conversation out of them. They asked you how your day was. That cheered you up as well – somebody caring.”

“The Still Waters team make an incredible difference to the people who live in Skinnergate. The volunteers treat everyone with total respect and a sense of equality. They provide food, social contact and companionship to people often experiencing isolation, loneliness and poor mental health. They can also help by informally supporting additional needs as they arise, either directly or through signposting.”

“Each Wednesday, Still Waters provides a driver and use of their van to help us deliver emergency home basics and furniture to people moving on from homelessness and into new tenancies. Without this incredible support we would struggle to respond to people who have next to nothing and who still face enormous vulnerability and challenge. Still Waters see this as an extension of their services, provided through and with us, and this contribution makes a critical difference to people’s lives. The impact is huge.”

To find about more about Still Waters, we welcome you to visit Tayside Christian Fellowship and speak to John Jack all about it!

Header photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash

Article published October 2023