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Incredibly, the Drop-in has been going for thirteen years, this is our fourteenth - and our last. Yet there are people who still don´t really know what we´ve been about!
In the beginning....
.....were, Helen, David, Sue, Ian, Sarah Carol, Sheila, Peter and Fiona. We were much younger then, about twelve Drop-ins younger, and it shows! Sandra joined us a little later, and very quickly became an essential and welcome member of the team.
Many years ago (actually, the first year that T arrived in Kinross), we recognised a need. The Parkers were wet, hungry, sometimes the worst for wear, needing transport, and quite often just requiring simple TLC.
It evolved into the well-honed, super-efficient, hilarious, manic, back-breaking, full-of-laughter and perspiration, singing bacon-frying, clothes-washing-drying, sleeping-it-off, and getting them home, weekend that we´ve grown to love.
But, it was never about the money - and never has been!
The original group (around seven or eight people, eventually evolving into a core-group which took care of the organisation) decided to put in the money up-front and trust God. We did the first year - and every year since. Making money for charity or any other reason was never our vision, and our prices reflected this, e.g.
Full breakfast - £1; Bacon roll - 35p; Filled rolls 30p
Because, thanks to the incredible generosity of the wonderful Parkers (around 5,000) that have graced our doors for so many years, we have still given away over £4,000 to various charities! Not impressed? Check the prices again.
But things have changed and this amazing core group - the majority there from the beginning, one or two a little later - are getting older, or have family commitments and it´s time to stop. God has told us quite clearly, "Lay it down." So we are.
The Core Group - what a bunch! Committed (and occasionally in group meetings, I thought they should be!), gracious, patient, tremendously hard-working and a joy to work with. They are, in no particular order: Fiona (AKA she who should be obeyed, but...); hubby, Dave, the money man and drink manager; Carol and Sheila, the singing fryers; Sue, the manic food gatherer (how would we have managed without you?); hubby Ian, long-suffering during the run-up weeks but who always had the last word, Yes dear; Sandra, who fitted anywhere and always made it appear cool and easy; and out front (where it all comes together), the glamour machine, Sarah and myself, Peter.
Last year we lost a much loved and valued member of our team, our dear, dear friend, Helen, who went to be with the Lord Jesus Whom she so dearly loved.
As convener, and on a very personal level, I really do thank each Core member for the incredible privilege of working with each one of you during this brilliant project. It has been such fun, and so rewarding.
Where would we have been without the army of people who voluntarily put themselves through this occasional glimpse of Dante´s Inferno each year? Too many to mention (close to a hundred), but you know who you are, (though sometimes during a weekend you may have wondered) and we do thank you so much, on behalf of the Parkers, naturally, but also on behalf of ourselves. You made it easy for us. (At least, very much easier!) And a big thank you to Mr. W. Boak, who supplied our bacon at very favourable prices. We also won´t forget the folk who came along with biscuits in latter years, and homemade soup and sandwiches in the early days. And also those kind people who brought along spin-driers, bins, towels and spare clothes; it really has been a team effort.
During the past thirteen years, we´ve dried clothes, given out T shirts and towels, provided areas for "sleeping it off", arranged transport for Parkers who had lost everything, and given free food when the need has arisen. And we´ve enjoyed every moment!
Prices haven´t changed in thirteen years and prices won´t change this year. (Although this is not strictly true, we used to charge for drinks, but we haven´t for a number of years.) And God´s economy has proven itself, year after year.
Sadly, we mourn the passing earlier this year of Helen Glover, friend and local journalist who has helped us from the early days with publicity, and persuading the local papers to take an interest. There is also an inevitable poignancy in Helen leaving us this fourteenth and final year of the Drop-in.
An important tip! If you´ve never taken part, this is your last chance to be numbered among the Drop-in saints. And if you have been part of the team in previous years, then sign up again to make this year really special. A party time!
July 9th and 10th We´re having a Party
Sign up and be a part of it!
(Our biggest compliment from the regulars; You’re part of the culture now.)
To sign up - at no charge and possibly a free bacon sarnie - ring Fiona on 01577 864194, or for more information, ring myself, Peter, on 01577 863509.