It all began with a colleague who works with women fleeing domestic violence.
It had been a frustrating fortnight for Cathie in her quest to provide much-needed provision for women fleeing domestic violence. She had appealed at one workplace for donations of non-perishable goods, but in the ensuing two weeks had only received a couple of packets of food that were already past their use-by dates.
It was then that she decided to do it herself—shopping each fortnight, using her own money to buy the essential supplies.
Reading her frustrated post on Facebook, I couldn’t ignore it. What right did I have to enjoy my life without doing what I could for women who must be frightened and desperate. While I couldn’t change their circumstances, I could contribute to their lives by donating some necessities that would really help.
At this point I wondered if my considerable bank of Facebook friends might also be interested in helping. I posted a message asking if anyone would like to donate $10 to this cause, saying that I would happily buy the goods on their behalf to donate to my colleague’s program.
I know I have a lot of interesting and chatty people in my Facebook cohort, but I had no idea whether my idea would resonate.
I needn’t have worried—within half an hour of posting the message I had my first donation. And a few days later I had more than 20 people who had transferred money. I now had nearly $300 to spend on buying simple necessities for women who had fled dangerous and damaging situations.
I was also powerfully encouraged as many of those people who gave also thanked me for giving them the opportunity to help.
As I thought about it, I realised that in a world that often seems cold, hard and full of people looking after number one, there are still many people who really want to help others.
I grew up with the adage that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and this experience has again confirmed this for me.
And I’m reminded that people have exercised the capacity to help others for more than 2000 years. Paul wrote the following advice to Timothy and the early Christians at Ephesus on this very matter.
“Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others” (1 Timothy chapter 6, verse 18).
It’s wonderful to know that there are still people who do this.
While not all of us will want to help through Facebook, it’s reassuring to know that there are many ways for us to assist, such as giving to organisations like The Salvation Army.
Christians are taught and know that God loves a cheerful giver. When we are generous—as Cathie and my friends have shown us—our communities become healthier places for us all.