As Christmas is just a few weeks away, many of us have already bought Christmas gifts, food and drinks.
While we happily plan to spend ourselves into poverty and debt for Christmas cheer, we also must take some time to think about those with less than what we have.
This season is the time to be generous, so figure out what you can afford and donate it, so someone else can have a better holiday season.
I hear you say, “I am too poor to give away a single cent!”, but money is not the only way to be generous. There are lots of things needed by others that cost nothing, but could be a part of your donation to help someone else have a Happy New Year and a warm Christmas. There are inexpensive gifts of course, but more so, there are baked goods made with your own hands.
There is the volunteering of your labour to help someone old or infirm clean things or fix things at their homes. The older folks may want to go out in town and you can provide that ground transportation and company for very little cost to yourself.
There may be something you have too much of which can be shared with someone else who does not have that same thing – maybe there are things in good condition that you are no longer using. Give those things away to someone in need.
Please don’t forget the men and women ‘on the street’ or those who live in rough conditions; they are also human beings. No one asks to be in that living situation; bad things happen to good people all the time.
Most us will be receiving bonuses, some will save for January bills and others will spend it all immediately. But, whatever you do include your neighbours as well. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should splash thousands on them or not pay one of your bills or renege on your kids’ school fees. All I am saying is think about someone else before indulging yourself.
What can be done to make a difference for someone else? When you are cooking your holiday meals, maybe you can cook extra for that neighbour living alone or a huge family where they don’t have enough for all of their kids. I think we need to learn to share more. The little you give might mean nothing to you, but can make a huge difference to someone else. No gift, offered with sincere kindness is ever a waste of time.
We must think again when we walk past a nine year-old kid sitting outside hungry and dirty. There is no one who can tell me that you can go out buying things for yourself or having a good time and then just walk past that child on the street and feel nothing.
If you can walk by and ignore the ‘invisible’ needy amongst us, is your heart made out of steel? Growing up, we were taught that ‘every child is your child and every elder is your parent’. Where did that wonderful idea of community die?
I have had discussions with a few of the men on the streets and the discussion always starts with talk about how it is not easy to be uneducated and not have any family/friend support system.
Many people don’t like giving money to people on the streets because they say that they will buy alcohol or drugs as many of them are addicts or have mental diseases to varying degrees. Yes… enabling an addict with cash is not helping, but hurting. But, you can buy them food or a jacket or a blanket and other things they cannot sell again for cash. Like the saying goes, there many ways to kill a cat – there are many ways to be helpful.
If you are a person that does not believe in hand-outs (people getting cash for doing nothing), then ask them to do odds jobs for you. Of course, let common sense prevail.
Don’t let someone into your home when you have doubts about your security and safety. But, maybe there is work that can be done outside your property, at your church, at your office …think about ways they can earn the money they need. You can pay a child’s school fees directly to the school and be assured that you have helped.
Let’s stop turning a blind eye to other people’s problems. Be the change you want to see.