This post was prompted by a friend of mine who wrote a post about poverty in foreign climes and it was a great post, sympathetically, written, backed up by a beautiful video and pictures. It tore at my heart -strings and rightly so.
It did however bring back memories for me when a good few years ago I was asked by a very dear ( now departed) friend to join her and some others on ” The Chocolate Run”
The name ‘Chocolate Run’ was coined because the charity set up over 40 years ago to provide hot chocolate drinks for homeless people in London as well as maintaining a haven during the Christmas period (where food, shelter and clothing was provided to homeless people in need).
Initially I did not know what to expect … I was told to be ready at 11pm…when normally I would be tucked up in my warm bed with a book, to wear warm clothes and comfortable shoes and don’t wear any jewelery(apart) from my wedding ring.
The mini bus was loaded up with urns of ” Hot Chocolate” and sandwiches..donated by local companies.
What I saw totally astounded me…..I was this girl/woman from a middle class family, cossetted, blinkered….I don’t know but I honestly wasn’t prepared for what I saw.
I don’t know if it was the old people or the very young or the obviously well -educated people who now slept on the streets…..What can be made out of a card board box ? I saw for myself and all this was in the affluent park area of Lincolns Inn Fields, London the home of Lawyers, solicitors and the ilk.
The reason for wearing no jewelery was not fear of robbery but to be sensitive and not flaunt what you had.
I spoke to men who had lost their businesses, their homes,had a breakdown, abandoned by friends and families, men who were highly educated but fell on bad times..Service men who fought for Queen and country…..How can you apply for a job when your address is the second park bench on the right????
Children and young people abused so they ran….so sad..because then the unscrupulous prayed on them…
Damm you..all those who do that to line your pockets or feed your perversions.
But what impressed me the most in this world of greed and power was when at Christmas in the freezing cold.. and I had a warm bed to go back to….we went armed with packs of a warm pair of sox, gloves,scarves,an Orange, a packet of fags and a lighter.
If we asked ” Do you want one” you didn’t get an answer…I learnt to just put it in their hands….. The look of thanks ..humbled me….But mostly what humbled me was..The man who said ” Mrs….. I have got one but old Joe over there hasn’t”
A man who had nothing and lived in a cardboard box…remembered and looked after his friend… I heard that statement more times in that one night than I have since.
How many of us do that…would you take two….most would….
This is why I took my children when they were old enough..to show them how in a blink of an eye or circumstance ….It could be them…
So when you look at all those poor unfortunate people in foreign climes..please also spare a thought for those closer to home….
This world we live in…this beautiful world….also has another side…..so wherever you are spare a thought, a smile, a touch on the shoulder, a small donation or gift and teach your children to spare a thought….Then hopefully the world will be a better place.
God Bless all those wonderful organisations all over the world who work to improve the lives of those less fortunate and also the individuals who do their bit.
So when you are travelling to all these beautiful places take a closer look…
Spare a penny!