The other week I observed my oldest child slip away from her group of friends in town, going into a local food shop and bringing out food to a homeless person she had seen sat in a nearby doorway. It was a moment that made me feel proud, that my child has performed an unselfish act, showing empathy, compassion and awareness towards someone else in need. She needn’t have done this, but she did.
I recall doing something similar as a young teen, out with a group of people who were purplexed as to why I would stop to talk to, and offer a little something to someone whom I had no connection with. I recall being asked why I bothered by one person, and replying that I cared, because that person needed someone to acknowledge them, to show that they weren’t insignificant and that they matter. I still think about that homeless girl who didn’t look much older than myself, and wonder if she ever managed to make it back off the streets.
There are a number of situations we close our eyes to, but if each of us stop for a minute and consider how we ourselves could make a difference to someone else, then life would be very different. I’m not just talking about the homeless here, I’m including those living on their own with no family or friends, those struggling to keep a roof over their heads, or to feed their families and those fleeing from their homeland due to war and conflict. What can we as individuals do, so that these people know that they matter? What can you do?
It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, it could be something simple as buying a hot drink for someone in need. Or you could add a few extra items to your shopping basket to pass on to the local food bank. Maybe you could invite someone round for a brew, or to join you for a meal? Or you could pass on items that you no longer have use for such as clothing, toys and other household items to an indivual or a charity that can pass it on to those in need.
What can you do to make a difference, and to let those in need know that they matter?