Why do I give?
Because I am lucky enough to have resources that I can share!
My earliest memory of charity in action was the Salvation Army brass band playing and the accompanying rattle of collection tins. My mother always gave what she could and it was my job to put the coppers in the tin, hearing them fall onto the others already there. We enjoyed their band music too!
My next really big exposure to a charity was my high school, founded in 1552, the oldest girls school in England, which, to this day, is a charitable institution. Everyone there came from a ‘disadvantaged’ background. In my day lots of mum’s only families, as their dads had been killed in the war. It was taught to us all, that there is always someone in a worse position than you and if you can, you must help them.
When leaving school this was read out at the last assembly
‘I charge you never to forget the great benefits that you have received in this place, and in time to come according to your means, to do all that you can to enable others to enjoy the same advantage’
So giving and helping has always been part of life.
Over the years I have given food and clothes to various charity drives, made toys to comfort children involved in accidents (my favourite), but my happiest giving experience was something very simple which cost nothing. Giving, our no longer needed washing machine, to a young lady who travelled after work every day, to Soweto, to do her parents washing, as they were not so able. This enabled her mum to do it herself. Her card of thanks, was my greatest reward.
Why especially Food Forward?
I hate good food going to waste. Growing up after the war in England meant rationing was still in full swing and no one threw anything away that was faintly edible. Apples had their bruised bits cut out and cheese had the mould wiped off with a cloth soaked in vinegar. I can still hear my mother saying, ‘Finish your dinner and be thankful that you have food, because there are starving children in Africa!’
How can we encourage people to give?
Start young so it becomes part of life. I remember, as a kid, being told before Christmas, that I had to choose two toys to give to the local children’s home before Santa would bring me any presents. AND they mustn’t be broken!
Also giving is not always about money, everyone can give a little of their time. Give a sandwich to that trolleypreneur that you see every week. Pop in to your elderly neighbour just for a chat to brighten up their day. Find a charity that has goals that appeal to you, whether it is children, animals or humans and offer to help. Volunteering can be more important than donating.
And lastly, as I have learnt, giving is way more rewarding than you can imagine. Seeing the smile on the face of the person you have helped, is worth all that effort.