Friday, 16 May 2014

Giving on a Shoestring - April (Year of Giving)

Yes I know it's May but it's been a busy April and we were on holiday so this is the first chance I've had to blog about my April giving exploits.

I struggle financially every April. I have usually only just got over the 'over' spend from Christmas when April hits me. April is a month full of family and friends birthdays as well as the Easter holidays so it is naturally a time of giving and usually a time of expense. As I am still on Maternity pay, if you can call it that, it barely covers my monthly food bill, I had to make my giving 'budget' this month. 

I recently bought a book called 'A Girl Called Jack'. It's a budget recipe book by a fellow blogger. The opening chapter had me in tears and really started the idea of this month's giving project. Here it is here if you want to go read it and come back ... 

It really is a brilliant cookbook if you are trying to feed yourself and your family healthily and on a budget. I think what I took from reading her post was a sense of perspective. I was, at that time, feeling pretty sorry for myself, feeling hard done by at having to cut back and tighten belts but I was being so closed to how privileged I really am. You forget that there are people in parts of the UK who are dealing with extreme poverty and that children here are going to bed hungry.

We think of hunger and we think of famine in Africa. We don't think about the kids living in our streets, villages, towns who are living with hunger on a daily basis. Obviously the situation in war torn countries has many layers of poverty, social problems and strife making comparison impossible but I believe it is never right that a child should be hungry. Truly hungry. Regardless of what side of the equator they live on. 

So I decided that this April would be a time to give to charities supporting these children. I bagged up all my old clothes and took them to the recycling centre. I emptied my food cupboard of all the non perishables that I knew I would never use and took them along to the local food bank. I set up a link with a local parenting support project and agreed with them that I would be donating books as my children out grow them to be used in their playroom and to be given to families in the local area. I plan on doing the same with Jamie's clothes as he outgrows them. Rather than selling them and making a small amount of profit for them I will donate them to charity or give them to someone who needs them.

On a similar note, A friend of mine on Facebook posted recently about how her son had seen a homeless man sitting out in the street and he felt compelled to go to the nearest shop and buy him something to eat and drink. I think that this shows what a compassionate and thoughtful young man he is going to be. Too many of us sit around and moan about the benefits culture, the immigrants, the homeless. We forget that underneath the label is a person. That person was at some point an innocent child. Someone's son or daughter. Some people take a wrong turn in life. Some people are born into misfortune. At the end of the day you never know what is in front of you. You never know when your luck might run out and you find yourself in a tight squeeze financially or at risk of losing your home. I know if it was me I would hope for the hand of a good Samaritan to offer me assistance or at the very least compassion. 

So I urge you to join me in giving. Look around your house. What could you give away? Look in your food cupboard. Will you use all those tins? Take them to your local food bank. Do you have lots of children's books that are not being read anymore? Bring them to me and I will deliver them to Home Start. You could play a part in ensuring that little tummies don't go hungry tonight. That they are warm and well clothed and have a nice bedtime story to read.

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