Just Enough Faith

By Phillip Coppen
No more turning away from the weak and the weary. No more turning away from the coldness inside. Just a world that we all must share. It's not enough just to stand and stare. Is it only a dream that there'll be no more turning away? -- Pink Floyd

Established in 1993, the Just Enough Faith Foundation is run by former restaurateur and millionaire Jeff Gambin, his wife Alina, and a small team of volunteers feeding the homeless and destitute of Sydney, Australia's largest city. Jeff has spent over three million dollars from his own pocket personally providing up to four hundred hot meals a night from his van. However, their objective is much more: it's about giving people hope and helping them regain self-respect through counseling, and where possible providing housing. Hence, rather than having a religious overtone, Just Enough Faith refers to restoring people's faith in themselves to recover and make a brighter future.

Jeff came to his decision to help homeless people late one winter's night while sitting on a park bench in Sydney's central business district. A commercial partnership he had entered into was taking a wrong turn, and he found himself sitting alone in the cold contemplating his future. A homeless man, mistaking Jeff for another homeless person in need, offered him his only blanket. "What about you?" Jeff protested. "I'm used to the cold," the man replied, walking away into the night.

Jeff felt humbled. This man had given what was probably his most valuable possession without a second thought. Jeff's problems did not seem so important anymore. From that day onwards, he has been providing hot meals to the homeless of inner Sydney come rain, hail, or shine.

Beyond feeding the homeless, Jeff and his team believe in making people self-sufficient. They have placed more than six hundred people in meaningful work and permanent housing over the past ten years. They have returned thirty children to school, and aided some fifty individuals to kick their addictions. In Jeff's words, "We try to mend broken faith. At the end of the day, that's why they're out there. Loss of jobs, partners, and families, all these things undermine people's faith in themselves and some people just reach a point where they can't cope. . . . Only selfless service can encourage a person to reach a higher state of humanity."

In every country there are people helping to keep this suffering world turning and, through their selfless actions, balancing, by even a jot, the weight of indifference and preoccupation with materialism. What a wonderful objective, to encourage the universal brotherhood which lies behind the bodhisattva ideal of selfless service to others that pushes forward the evolution of the planet!

(From Sunrise magazine, December 2004/January 2005; copyright © 2004 Theosophical University Press)

Brotherhood Menu

Often we know the lonely and fail to reach out in love. We may be shy or find it hard to show love. We may feel that we are being insincere if we try. Then let us accept ourselves as we are -- God's imperfect instruments -- and pray that he will use us despite our shortcomings. -- Mother Teresa