Now, be honest! Who can truthfully say that they have never asked, implored, or beseeched the Good Lord to let them win The Lottery? Surely it can’t just be me! I have even resorted to a little blackmail: Dear Lord, if you let me win this week, I will see to it that others get a share. You see I’m not remotely greedy, I just want to be the ‘Bringer of Wealth and Joy’ to the world… well the nation….. county?…town?….street?…neighbour? NO ONE PERSON needs a prize of forty seven million pounds but let ME win and I’ll start by making forty six other unsuspecting people, millionaires! I think that is a very reasonable argument. (Some of you, with a maths degree, may have noticed that I am holding onto a million for myself -well giving it ALL away would be quite mad don’t you think?)
Television programmes are peppered with appeals for the vulnerable, the sick and the homeless and they are heartbreaking to watch. From early childhood, we gave money on a daily basis to the children of The Third World. Since further awareness raising back in the eighties, people have been giving what they can to try and alleviate the world’s pain and suffering. Countless appeals and campaigns have been launched and nations have responded most generously. Naively, I often think to myself that surely, by now, every child on this earth should have access to clean water/ food/ a blanket/ a mosquito net/ antibiotics/ a roof over their head/ a book and a pencil/a teacher. Of course I am aware of political intrigue, corrupt governments, civil unrests etc., but I’d still like some answers. What shocks me now though is the ‘Child Poverty’ figures in our own tiny part of the world. We are not talking about lack of clean water/food/a blanket/ a mosquito net/ antibiotics/ a roof/a book and pencil/a teacher, are we? If yes, then as a nation we should be hanging our heads in shame. No child in this country should be hungry or cold or be deprived of education or medical attention. Are there no ministers with the will and imagination to combat the situation? Certainly the poor have always been with us but why in the twenty first century are their numbers increasing? Giving money – however large or modest the amount, is so ‘easy’ nowadays (text, ‘phone, email…) and consciences are easily salved.
Truly selfless people have given their time and labour as well as their hard earned money to the work involved in all that ‘ giving to charity’ entails. I admire them so much. I’d love to be able to take credit for starting a food bank, a soup kitchen, a toy bank, a shelter for the homeless, a refuge for the depressed. I used to try and do what I could for the children in my charge who suffered from ‘poverty of spirit’ – and they were many in number. I received acknowledgement of my efforts from one child who said to me one day when I was feeling rather well turned out, youthful and glamorous:
‘D’joo know sumfink, Mrs McAlindian…. ah wish you wur ma grannie…’