I’m now one of many Lifewise support workers, who help people in need at Lifewise Merge Café on Auckland’s K’ Road.
Every day, we welcome people from all walks of life into the café. People come to Merge Cafe because they can talk to people who they can trust and reach out to for help, and be offered a freshly cooked meal. Affordable roasts, classic Kiwi boil ups, vegetarian options and a complimentary tea or coffee.
Merge Café is open to all and makes a huge impact on the lives of people who initially come in for just a feed.
Let me tell you about Joe, who I met at the café recently:
This morning, as I sat sipping tea in Merge Cafe, I noticed a new face on one of the couches. Young fellow, could have been in his 30s but looked a lot older. He wasn’t one of the regulars Merge serves, but the look on his face wasn’t new to me.
I’ve seen that look in the mirror before, during all the years I used to face my own demons and struggled with making the right choices. When I went and sat down next to him, he seemed relieved, and we started talking. Joe escaped an abusive home as a teenager, but became caught in a vicious cycle of drug abuse, unstable relationships, and irregular employment.
When I shared my story, Joe was surprised at how similar my life had been to his. “But look at me now,” I said “You’ve come to the right place, I can help you.” I took him to meet an experienced Social Worker. Joe was referred to a psychiatrist. He is now undergoing treatment and we are helping him to find safe, stable accommodation.
There will be many others like Joe who will come to Merge. Some will talk to me, and some will be happy just to have a warm, welcoming place to have a hot meal, or meet with friends.
Merge is special to me, and it feels good to now be the one who lends a helping hand. It feels good to look after others who, like me, have been in and out of rehab, abused by loved ones and rejected by strangers.
Lifewise has given me a safe space to engage with people who need a helping hand but who may be unable to find the right words to ask. At Merge Cafe, they don’t have to ask. If they come in, I’ll be here for them.
Lifewise Merge Café serves over 20,000 meals to people in need, and there are still close to 200 people sleeping rough in Central Auckland.
I hope you can see; this is just part of a much bigger social issue. With your support, people who are struggling with homelessness, poor mental health and addiction can tap into the resources we have for them get the support they need.
Please visit the Lifewise website to know more.
Supporter Worker – Lifewise