Sometimes, concentrating on the measurement of time – and the distraction of all the other obligations around you – makes it really easy to forget about other people who need a little of your time.
I live in a predominantly wet, often very cold part of the world. I love the changing of the seasons and I adore the snow, but I hate being cold. That’s ok for me because I have a house and fresh clothes (and an airing cupboard!) and an office and access to coffee shops… but there are people in my little city who don’t. I used to think giving them money ‘won’t solve the problem’ and I’d just give to charity, but you know what? A pound in their pocket might get that coffee or beer or frankly whatever they need to make a freezing, wet, shitty night (or day) less terrible.
Anyway, that’s one way I try to help BUT I did have a bigger plan to actually do something to help and after contacting Julian House, the Salvation Army and other charities to ask how I can help…I got nothing. No response (yes, I’m naming them because they need to know, and there’s a strong chance they simply don’t have the resource to respond, in which case keep doing what you can guys, we salute you). So, after much googling & delving I eventually found 3 ways I can help more vulnerable people and I thought I’d share there with you.
1. Sponsor a bed at the YMCA. For very little you can sponsor a bed each month for a vulnerable young person, it offers protection and warmth. Simples.
2. The Silver Line. This is a charity that buddies you up with a vulnerable older person who just needs someone to talk to. Once a week you spend 30 mins on the phone to them, and it makes a world of difference to their happiness.
3. Pants & socks. You heard. Like me, you probably never thought of this one but in spite of charity drops in their thousands all over the country, one thing that isn’t donated enough is underwear. Imagine living on the street and rarely getting a change of clothes – pretty rubbish, right? – then think how much better it would be if at least you had some fresh cottons on where it counts most. So just a thought but when you’re next at the supermarket, think about sticking some socks and undies (x2, one men’s, one women’s) in your trolley. Come on, you can afford that booze/smoked salmon/artisan loaf right? Think about it, make a change if you can.
That’s it, I just figured I can’t be the only one wanting to do something marginally more meaningful and struggling to find a way, so I’m sharing.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for some of us. Try to share the love a bit.