January Reflection

You may have noticed a change with the blog-well there has been one. I completed my adventure into hope so the recipes will be there, but this year I will be taking a different stance. Following the suggestion of Writing Presence who writes an excellent blog, I am going to write twelve reflections, for the twelve months of the year.

Today’s is about how my local community is rippling out kindness to one another. I live in Thanet, one of the most deprived communities in the South East, with high levels of unemployment, many suffering from physical disability or mental health issues. Things here are on paper, pretty grim.

Add to that and what do you get? In actual fact, the opposite from what you would imagine. People helping one another. I am part of an online Facebook community called The Clothes/Shoes Helpline and this is where people need items and other people give. So someone might need nappies and another person has spare, so they give them. It is a give and take process. An exchange of kindness.

I run a clothing bank which is also a befriending service. Maslow’s hierachy of needs is very interesting here. Maslow states that the most fundamental human need is food, water, warmth and rest.

See the source image

Sadly many people do not have enough food. Their physiological needs are unmet. With the pandemic, if basic needs are not met, then people are much more likely to catch Covid. Perhaps meeting these basic needs will help in the fight against it.

In order to self-actualise, many steps need to be climbed. And so food banks are vital, as are clothes banks. Many people on universal credit cannot afford to heat their homes, so basic necessities such as bedding, shoes and warm clothes are beyond theie meagre means. If something breaks down, it is likely the choice will be made to do without.

Thus many families in today’s Britain have no decent bedding, shoes with holes in and children without a warm coat. In my view, every town now needs a food bank and a clothes bank too.

redistribution of unwanted good is becoming a necessity. Let’s recycle unwanted items to charities, rather than chuck them. Or put things outside to be taken away. A small clothes rail with free clothes on it may really help someone. You could put a note saying please only touch what you take.

Just a few thoughts. So much is written about saving our planet. Perhaps we could be creative with recycling and far less would go to landfill.

References

maslow’s hierarchy of needs – Bing images (accessed 20/01/01).

Tales from the clothed with dignity project

My one rusty clothes rail has grown exponentially. Donations have poured in literally. Today, a lovely kind hearted solicitor asked me what we were in desperate need of. I said “baby milk”. He cam back shortly afterwards, balancing several cans on top of one another. What a star!

I have recently had several discussions about people exploiting the foodbank, taking too much or even seeling the clothes on. However I will not police this free service. People may take advantage, some give donations, others do not, but I do not want to start rationing out clothes. We have enough to go round and plenty more besides. So I am happy for people to just take free items, no questions asked. Because when some of our donations amount to 2p beause that is all someone can afford, I am not going to start policing our free service. If people want to stick a pric label on then they can give to a charity shop. This is a novel concept and I am sticking to it.

Today a whole box of tracksuit bottoms were put out on our ladies rail. And they all went by the end of the morning (as I knew they would. It poured with rain and still the people came in droves.

We have now given out over 1000 food parcels at the door in 14 weeks, since the foodbank opened. The situation is getting worse and our deliveries are growing weekly as word gets round.

The recipe of hope today is to please support your local foodbank or clothing bank. And if you have some spare clothes, you may like to leave them somewhere for people to take, perhaps on a tree, or a clothes rail. People are losing their jobs in this country and poverty is on the rise. Children are not getting enough food.

Let’s really look to support one another in practical ways X

Stories of hope from a foodbank

As you know I work in a community project so on Monday I like to share hope stories with you.

The lessons I am learning from our clothing bank are that creativity is a good way to be able to help people. A pavement dweller asked me for men’s clothing last week and I didn’t have anything, but I asked if he read. “True crime” was the response, so I found him some lovely books. A woman came who asked for baby clothes. Again, we didn’t have any. But we did have a lovely great condition baby walker. So I always try to give people something.

Another lesson is the ‘abundance principle’. As you know, I am a Christian and I believe God is a God of abundance; abundant kindness, abundant compassion, abundant generosity. And so I like to use these ways at the clothing bank. I know some people may take more than others. But when items are freely given, who am I to ration? Because more will come in. And I like people to go away feeling blessed by our little clothing bank. If you ever in Margate, do come and visit us.

Another lesson is that there is room for everyone. We are on the same road as The Salvation Army, who also give food and clothing. But I do not think we are duplicating and both organisations have a different approach. I love the idea of one road being the ‘hope road’ as I see it.

Today’s recipe of hope is to support your local food or clothing banks. People are in desperate need and many people are losing their income and struggling to feed their families. More than ever those of us with abundance can share it with others. Let’s give generously in whatever way we can and spread hope to those not feeling much hope at the moment X