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Volunteering for homeless people

Hot food and a sympathetic ear: Lisa Fäsing tells us why she volunteers for youngcaritas and what she gets out of it. 

Miriam Hoffmeyer , 27.02.2023
Lisa Fäsing at work with the youngcaritas project.
Lisa Fäsing at work with the youngcaritas project. © privat

“Everything – and soup” is the name of a project to support homeless people in Lüdenscheid, and Lisa Fäsing finds the pithy phrase very appropriate: “Our guests can warm up here, have a coffee and get some hot food. That's important, but it’s about so much more, too,” she said. Lisa is 28 and has been volunteering for the youngcaritas organisation for three years. Many homeless people live very isolated lives because they feeling ashamed of their situation or psychological problems, so projects like Everything – and soup are a source of support for those affected by homelessness. “In many cases, we’re the first people our guests even speak to some days,” says Lisa, who is training to be a teacher at a vocational college.  

Space for homeless people 

Along with two other volunteers, Lisa Fäsing has covered up to two unpaid shifts every week since joining the project when it started in December 2020. Back then, the pandemic had made the situation worse for homeless people as many places for them to stay closed down. Youngcaritas worked with many other organisations in the city to campaign for a cultural centre to open up a space for homeless people in the late afternoons and over weekends. 

Through this project I have learned how to deal with people without prejudice.
Lisa Fäsing

Before starting her teacher training in economics and Protestant theology at the University of Siegen, Lisa Fäsing completed a banking apprenticeship. “But I felt that it lacked a social element,” she says, so she started a part-time job with Germany’s Federal Child Protection Association. During the lockdown in the spring of 2020, she volunteered for Lüdenscheider Tafel, a local food bank, where she helped prepare and deliver food parcels. “When the food bank reopened, I was asked if I wanted to help out with Everything – and soup,” she says.  

Inspiration to become a teacher 

Even in a small town like Lüdenscheid there are nearly 100 homeless people, some of whom are younger than Lisa. She was shocked, but she says, “I was lucky enough to be able to do something myself. I can’t save the world, but I can make coffee and listen to people.” Lisa says she has got a lot out of volunteering: “The stories which the people bring here are fascinating, but they also make me feel humility, because it is by no means a given that I should be doing so well. Another thing I’ve learned here is how to deal with people without prejudice, regardless of their social status, appearance or origin.” The project also inspired Lisa to change career: “As a teacher, it is my job to teach young people how to be aware of their responsibilities, engaged in politics and society and able to deal with one another respectfully.” Her experiences here should certainly help her to do that. 

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