Yesterday, Saturday, while I was out I saw a man ask a few people if they had any small change. He walked past me, but I stopped and asked him how much he needed. He said he wasn’t sure, but he needed to get a prescription for painkillers as he had recently had a tooth operation and needed medication to manage the pain as the dentist was closed until Monday. He explained he lived in the country and there was no pharmacy there, so he had come all the way to town but upon arriving here had realised he had left his wallet at home.
Regardless of whether this story was true or not, I decided I wanted to help him out. Because if it was true, then I would do it, and if it wasn’t true, he was still in a position where he needed to ask people for money. So I gave him all the change I had on me, which was about $8. He had a couple of other coins as well, so hopefully he had $10 – enough to get 2 prescriptions.
Yesterday while I was in town I purchased a parking permit for 1 hour of parking, but only ended up needing 10 minutes. As I returned to the car, I looked around for someone to give it to and managed to stop someone purchasing a new permit just in time. When I gave him my permit he was really grateful.
While this act is not something spectacular, I rarely find myself with the opportunity to do this (as usually I am running back to the car park with seconds to spare before the permit expires) and so I decided to count it as an act, even if it is just a mini-act.
Over the past few months and especially in the last couple of weeks I have come to know many of the patrons at the soup kitchen. I feel I am no longer just an anonymous volunteer to them, but they actually recognise me and greet me when they see me, and we get in to conversations. I am so happy about this.
This is not one singular act that has happened, more of an on-going thing… basically I have started keeping my eye open for free clothes, gloves, shoes, blankets, etc, that I can pass on to other people. There is a place called the Koha Shed (Koha is a Maori custom of gifting) where people can donate and/or take items as they please, with no money involved. It is specifically aimed at helping people in need and I am so moved by the kindness of the people who have converted their garage in to this community service.
It is a bit out of the centre of town where many of the homeless people stay, so I have started going there and picking up suitable items, and distributing them through the soup kitchen. Last week, I was able to give a lady some gloves and today we got coats and shoes for two young men who were in t-shirts and bare feet. I am so glad, as it really upset me that the system is failing these youths so much that in mid-winter they are unable to clothe themselves.
This is something I have been wanting to do for ages, and especially since I have started volunteering at the soup kitchen (see post ‘Number 40’ and ‘Number 42’). Today as I was volunteering there I really got talking to some of the patrons. There are people with interesting and unexpected stories.
Anyway, two of the younger guys asked me if I could help them with their job applications, so I am meeting the individually next week to sit down and create C.V.’s and cover letters.
I learned today that one of the mother’s at my daughter’s daycare doesn’t get to bring her child in very often because she lives far away and has neither car nor pushchair, so unless she gets a lift she has to walk carrying her child. I know how heavy kids start feeling when you’ve been carrying them for a hundred metres, yet alone the several kilometres she has to walk.
So as soon as I dropped my daughter off I went to the second hand shop at the recycling centre and bought a shabby but functional pram for $20. I spend several hours cleaning it and patching it up, so that it looked nice.
On the card I wrote
‘To the mama who doesn’t have a pushchair. I know this one isn’t great, but I hope it will be useful until you can get a new one’
I dropped it off at the play school and asked the teachers to give it to her.
We have a grapefruit tree in our garden and its fruit is ripe. I collected a big box of them and put it at our gate for neighbours and passers-by to help themselves. I also saw an advert on Freecycle for someone from the local hospital looking for lemons and other citrus fruits, so I sent them a message saying we had lots and they could help themselves.
The grapefruits are really nice and we have had lots, but there are far too many for just us, so it is nice to know other people can enjoy them too.
Continuing from encouraging bees (‘Number 44’), I have decided to make our garden as supportive of wildlife as possible. Over the next weeks, I plan to do the following things in our garden:
* A few days ago I put up a bird feeder which can feed 4 birds at the same time, and the seed mix I put inside is specially designed for wild birds in New Zealand.
* I will plant some berry bushes, to attract more birds.
* Create a ‘native bush’ area in our garden by growing native plants that attract native wildlife.
* Build a bird bath.
* Make a ‘minibeast hotel’ to attract different insects and invertebrates.