Laurence Keily, popularly known as Larry, has been volunteering for our Youth Off The Streets food van every second week for 24 years, only taking three shifts off in all of that time.
Father Chris attended Larry’s church one Sunday looking for volunteers for the food van. Larry was moved by the cause and decided that it could be something he could easily do to give back.
In an interview, Larry explains after years of volunteering how easy it really is to give back and chuckles when explaining that; ‘it’s not rocket science!’
“I just thought well I can’t be like Fred Hollows for example and travel the world fixing people’s eyesight, but this is something that I CAN do and I appreciate the opportunity to do so. Now it’s a part of my life and routine. “
The food van has now been serving food and drink to people in need since 1991. Every night of the year there are 20-50 people who use the Food Van – both adults and young people. For many, the food van is a huge part of their life and volunteers like Larry have gotten to know and connect with these people on a regular basis.
“These people have become part of my life and I’m sure I’m a big part of theirs too. I remember a guy we had been helping for a while was having trouble with his teeth. When he finally got his pension through to get them fixed he came running up to the van yelling ‘GUESS WHAT? IT’S HERE!’ I was the first person he wanted to tell, which was pretty special to me,” said Larry.
Larry and the team have had some surprising times and some down times, but they have always shown tremendous commitment to the people who use this service.
“Sometimes on a freezing cold night when you would rather stay home and it’s pouring down, you wonder if anyone will even turn up. But every time, they’re there and you remember these people are always going to be there needing you, so we have to be too,” says Larry.
Through everything Larry has shown amazing dedication to the food van and to the people they support. He is an example that anyone can do there bit to give back and change the lives of those who need it.
Larry would also like to thank Father Chris for the opportunity.