If you scroll back to the very beginning of this blog, you’ll see it was two years ago to the day that it all started, and the journey of ToastLoveCoffee began.
‘Getting Started’ was the post. It is an interesting read two years on.
From those crazy beginnings, tonight we can celebrate what I, and my amazing, organically growing team are achieving:
We are open twice a week, popping up in a busy part of Harehills (Leeds), and welcoming many many people. We offer a good morning of coffee, toast and chat. Even a going home bag of groceries most weeks. All food is intercepted waste and people give with time, skills, or money. We successfully crowdfunded £10000 to create our permanent home and it is now taking shape. Our online followers are growing daily, and we know there are hundreds of people whose lives we can say we have touched in a positive way.
Anita, the inspiration for it all, is still in Leeds with her son, still fighting for the right to remain in the UK but at least the battle is not lost yet, and in the meantime they are happy, getting on with life as best they can with school, college and friends.
But tonight, on the eve of another – the fifteenth- Holocaust Memorial Day, I am also feeling overwhelmed and saddened that the big world picture seems worse than it was two years ago.
How can it be that we are not learning the lessons of the Holocaust? How can it be that each year, the list of human beings who have died at the hands of other human beings, in the name of an ideology, gets longer?
How can it be that for some, the world keeps turning as it always has done, and for others, everything is finished, gone, killed.
These people, some of whom we have had the privilege of meeting in the cafe, are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, friends, doctors, teachers, accountants, students and children…
Today, they are struggling to survive. Whether that’s in a refugee camp, on a rubber dinghy, in a tunnel, in an unfamiliar city.
What milestone are they remembering today?
So while we mark our milestone tonight, and celebrate what we have achieved, we know that the task is far from over to truly and deeply ‘never forget’.
To all whose lives have been lost due to ideology and politics: may your memory be for a blessing.
To all whose lives have been turned upside down due to ideology and politics: may your strength and courage continue in the years ahead.
To all who are fortunate enough to have not experienced such traumas, may we continue to learn from their strength and courage.
Then, maybe we can all create milestones for a better world, together.