I hate the bloody cold-particularly that damp type that seems to take up permanent residence in your bones and never quite leave. I woke up, reluctant to leave the warm comfort of my duvet then reminded myself no matter how cold it is out there I am so fortunate to have the basic necessities-food, warmth and shelter-those basic necessities that many of us take for granted at times. More and more of us are losing our homes almost overnight in these extremely unstable economic climes and not everyone is fortunate enough to have good family or friends to take them in-ever thought what happens in these unfortunate and distressing situations?It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the ever increasing negativity around us but by closing one’s eyes (as I had begun to do) and ignoring the obvious-the growing number of beggars on our local streets for one-well that wasn't going to solve the problem either. Meanwhile, I reasoned that by planting some positive seeds and starting from the bottom I could perhaps help contribute to helping those around me on a local level instead. There are of course many reasons and diverse situations that can lead someone to sleep rough but whatever the case, I found myself drawn to take an interest and support those who are doing all they can to bring aid to those in these unenviable situations right here under our noses on the not always so sunny Costa Blanca. I began by contacting my mother’s church-The Salvation Army-or the ‘Sally Army’ as it’s fondly known by us English speakers- a church that is often viewed with suspicion by locals as the name, ‘El Ejército de Salvación’ conjures up unfortunate images from a previous military dictatorship. The Sally army has been present in Denia for a number of years now-quietly providing help and resources for local people on a number of levels-the most important of which at present must be their daily soup kitchen feeding on average 19 people a night-both homeless and those in otherwise severe economic situations, including a mother and her two children. I began my mission by joining in one evening and learning how they package and prepare the food –it is then given out at eight o’clock prompt every night-after which they take note on how many have been fed-their nationalities and their sex. At weekends the church is opened as a dining hall and the people are served inside.
All this is done by a mere handful of volunteers from what is a very small church. Aside from the daily soup kitchen, The SA is also part of an association of registered charities –‘La mesa solidaria- which includes The Red cross and Caritas-that take part in a food programme provided by the ‘Banco de alimentos’ that provides for families and individuals on the social services register. The church also runs a second hand shop, again manned by volunteers, where all proceeds are ploughed back into the various programmes-indeed anyone in real need of clothes is given the items directly from the shop, particularly coats and jumpers at this cold time of year. The amount of desperate people is increasing and the church needs volunteers (non-church goers, like me, are welcome!) and contributions-whether financial donations or non -perishable foods-warm clothes and blankets or indeed a large pot of soup-everything is much appreciated.
The church is planning a special Christmas meal for the homeless on Friday 20th at 19.00 and a Christmas tea on Saturday the 21st at 17.00 for those alone at Christmas-all are welcome.
The Salvation Army is located on Calle San Jose 14, bajo. Denia 03700 Tel: 96 642 3048 mobile 698 609 725 Email: