Have you ever had someone do you a good deed that made you feel all the feels? I have. I remember when I first moved to London, within a day or two I had my handbag stolen in a pub, along with all my money, my house keys, my A-Z map I needed to actually find my house…I was really in a pickle. Rather than staying with friends overnight which would have been the sensible option, I decided I could remember where I lived and tried walking it, hoping a flatmate would be home to let me in when I got there. Of course, I couldn’t find my way, and it got very late and I was alone on a dark street in a less-than-great part of town, and I stopped a taxi driver to ask him for directions. I said I couldn’t afford to have him drive me there as I had no money, but he insisted I hop in and took me directly to my door in 10 minutes. I was near to tears as he handed me a fiver when I got out, because he said he thought I deserved a nice breakfast in the morning. What a lovely man to help a stranger like that.
I was always brought up to lend a hand to people in need, and I’ve tried to always make sure I put that into practice when I see someone in front of me who could do with help. But often there are people I know need help who might not be directly in front of me, and I don’t do anything. Feeling sorry for people who’ve had something awful happen to them is about as much use as liking or sharing a Facebook meme – it doesn’t achieve anything, bar making you feel like you’ve done something.
The #BlogItForward Challenge with Wayfair
Wayfair have challenged bloggers to #BlogItForward – to do a good deed and blog about it. For every blogger participating by today, they will donate £50 to Habitat for Humanity. The lovely Emma who blogs at From Aldi to Harrods challenged me last week, and thankfully I was able to participate in time, because I already had a good deed in the making!
My Good Deed
This Christmas Day really terrible flooding hit the Calder Valley, very near where I live in Yorkshire. At the time I was visiting my family down in Somerset (another county used to dealing with the horrors of floods) and friends kept asking if my house was safe and how close the floods were. We live on the side of a hill, so I knew we would be fine, but I kept thinking about the people who weren’t, whose Christmas was ruined in the most awful way, and whose entire year, if not several years, would be seriously affected.
As I wrote during the last bad floods which hit at Christmas time in Somerset, it must be terrible to have your home ruined by floodwater. I know many items are just ‘things’ and are replaceable, but family photo albums, furniture that has been passed down through generations, that embroidered cushion that you made your Mum in primary school, those things, the memories and treasured possessions that make your house a home, cannot be replaced. To re-build your home after it has been flooded once must be a terrible thing, but you try to get back to normal. Once it happens again, I imagine there was a sentiment of “how unlucky for it to happen again, but we will do our best to get back to normal”, and the walls are replastered and repainted again, furniture replaced, and bits and pieces bought to make it feel like it used to. The third time, which that winter it was for so many families, must be devastating. I can imagine them wondering, “Why bother? Maybe we should just live in the attic”.
I decided I wanted to do something practical to help those in the Calder Valley who had their lives turned upside down last month, and indeed, who are expecting more heavy rain this weekend and no doubt are terrified that it will happen again. When a colleague told me he intended to collect books for the primary schools whose libraries had been completely inundated, I found something practical I could do. Reading was one of my great joys as a child – a chance to escape to another world, something I imagine many of the Calder Valley children might feel like doing right now – and so I felt this was a really appropriate way for me to help.
Having only lived here a year, and not knowing a huge number of people, I expected my appeal to friends with children on Facebook to prompt maybe a box or two of books to donate. I wasn’t expecting the overwhelming response I had, mainly from friends at Fitter Faster, the bootcamp I go to, and Nigel who runs it. With the help of the Lindley Childrens’ Bookshop who donated boxes and boxes of books, my car gradually began to fill up until I was able to drop an entire Citroen’s worth of books off for the schools on Friday! This was my passenger seat before I crammed the final few bags in:
Books can still be donated to the appeal and you can see from the photos and videos on their Facebook page that the children are really appreciative.
What can you do?
#BlogItForward ends today, so there’s no time for me to nominate another blogger to take part. However, I’m going to nominate all of you, my readers, to think about doing just a little bit more next time you hear of someone in need, and to keep your eyes open to those around you. Whether it’s helping someone down some stairs with a pushchair, or buying someone living on the streets a hot meal, whatever you can do makes the world that little bit nicer.
So go on, make me really happy – tell me about your good deeds lately! Don’t be shy!