Bill’s face is one you might be familiar with in the Kitchen. As the leader of Many Rooms’ Community Development team, he drops in once a fortnight to sit down and have a chat with the participants, often bringing along his watercolour paints to share with those who wish to explore their creative sides.
It was Bill’s love of art together with a desire to help the underprivileged that first attracted him to Many Rooms, having heard about its art group through his church, City on a Hill.
“I really enjoy painting and illustrating and wanted to come along and just hang out with people. I love that social aspect because I feel you can learn so much from every person you meet, and I think there are some amazing people here.”
He was also challenged by a scripture from the Bible – Matthew 25:31–46, The Sheep and the Goats – to help those less fortunate. “By following Jesus’ example of loving the poor, we are in turn loving Him. In the same way that Jesus laid down his life for us, we are called to lay down our life for Him,” Bill explains.
He says engaging with participants is what he enjoys most about the volunteer work. “I think the participants are so rich in heart. They might be considered poor in the world’s eyes and they may have their troubles, but I enjoy hanging out with them as much as those who are more privileged.
“The participants have really lived and weathered a lot,” Bill added. “They’re hidden treasures – so warm, humble and friendly. They might have had abusive parents, a mental illness or a tougher road and I realise that that could easily have been me. I can relate and empathise with them, because even though we may be in financially different situations, as humans, we’re really all the same.”
When asked what he’s learned from the experience, Bill says he’s realised he’s much happier helping others than when he’s thinking about himself. “The funny thing is, it’s when I stop thinking about myself that I find true life.”
Bill says he is now keen to use his time, talents and the other “gifts” he has been fortunate enough to have been given to assist the homeless. “I’ve been blessed so that I can bless others.”