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Turning the other cheek

Turning the other cheek Ruth Saxton

23rd November 2017
Feel good story

Even though many of our brains are beginning to get clogged up with shopping lists and party dates, it’s also that time of year when our thoughts drift towards those less fortunate. And now it’s getting chilly outside, we thought we’d share this story of an amazing woman who turned rage into charity, that will warm your cockles.

Just over two weeks ago, Manjit Kaur was working in her café in Leeds Market when a woman, came up and asked for a mug of hot water. Immediately the woman threw it back in Manjit’s face, telling her to, “Get back to her own country.” Obviously angry and shaken, but luckily not seriously hurt, Manjit was reticent about sharing this on social media as she was worried about portraying Leeds (the city in which she was born) in a bad light.

Manjit's Kitchen Leeds

Manjit's KitchenTwitter responded with outrage and words of sympathy for the trader but within a matter of hours, Manjit announced to all the well-wishers that rather than report the woman to the police, “Her life looked tough enough…if I was carrying my bedding in a bin bag in Leeds centre on a Saturday eve I would no doubt be angry too,” she was going to, “Do something for a homeless charity. Not sure yet…Raise a few quid before Christmas.”

The next day Manjit tweeted that she was going to hold a raffle: just a voucher for the market in support of Simon on the Streets, a fantastic local charity for long-term rough sleepers. But Twitter and fellow independent businesses had bigger ideas. Tweets came flying in with offers of support. So many that Manjit feared there’d be more prizes than entrants. But the people of Leeds snapped the tickets up and more had to be ordered. Manjit couldn’t believe it, “The reaction to the raffle has been amazing. Firstly by the independent businesses of Leeds, and now with people buying tickets. It has taken on a life of its own. We have already raised over £2000 for Simon on the Streets.

Simon on the Streets
Simon on the Streets

Simon on the Streets is an independent charity covering West Yorkshire, in particular Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield. We are a charity that supports our homeless community, in particular, entrenched rough sleepers. Remaining independent of statutory funding is critical to our success as it allows us to work without restrictions and to deliver tailor-made support on an individual basis with no time limitations.

 

Morphing into a local celebrity, last week Manjit had to put a call out on Twitter for social media support so she could actually get on with cooking. I delivered some tickets across the city for other businesses to sell, as the queue for tickets at Manjit’s Kitchen was longer than that for food.

Manjit's Kitchen

As I walked around the city, I stopped to buy a few people hot drinks and have a quick chat. Leeds apparently has fewer rough sleepers than comparable cities, but the number of people on our streets seems to have increased dramatically in recent years. I also passed the many flowers and messages recently left for ‘Geordie’ and Alan Campbell two of Leeds’ most familiar rough sleepers, who died recently: a stark reminder why Simon on the Streets work is so vital.

Manjit's Kitchen raffle
Fabulous prizes! There might be tickets left.

By that evening one coffee shop had sold out twice in the day! So the total for Manjit’s raffle, when its drawn on 21st December, could now be over £7000: a much-needed Christmas present for the charity.

Our moto at The League of Fabulous Women is: Friendship, Honesty, Toughness, Kindness.

We couldn’t not share this act of kindness and Manjit’s amazing compassion with you.

We’d love to give a shout out to anyone else doing good deeds and being ace over the christmas period. Please get in touch if you have a story to share. x

 

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Ruth Saxton
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