STROUD-based charity Marah Trust has raised more than £100 at its 100 Friends meet and greet fundraising event in the grounds of St Laurence Church.

A free drop-in service is run three times a week by the Stroud-based Christian charitable organisation the Marah Trust.

Volunteers offer a free hot meal with no questions asked and give rough sleepers a welcoming place to meet and socialise.

From its hub at the Stroud Valley Scouting & Community Centre in Chapel Street, they work with people on the margins of society, those who are excluded from the everyday, positive experiences of life due to their circumstances.

Michael Athienites, drop-in manager at Marah, said: “The people who come to us suffer from hunger and poverty, and include those who are homeless, have drug and alcohol issues and physical and mental health problems.

“We provide a free, nutritious hot meal three times a week, and as well as providing a warm welcome and sense of community to our clients, we help them to access the services and support they may need.

“Our volunteers were at St Laurence Church on Saturday, August 19 to explain what we do and to ask if people can sign up to donate £3 per month.

“We raised £114 on the day. Three people signed up and others took forms home.

"We had four people apply to become volunteers and Jackie Natt, a Marah trustee, got a couple of bookings to talk to local groups about Marah’s work.

“David Drew attended the event, he has been a long time supporter of us, and as a small charity that really means a lot.

“All in all it was great for Marah to meet the local community and explain what we do.

“Three people is a small start but we are still aiming for 100, as funds are much-needed for us to continue our work.

"We plan to repeat the event over the coming year."

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