By Nadia Mabika
Most of our mornings start off with that annoying sound that we just love to hate. The electronic rooster beckoning us to jump out of our warm beds and drench ourselves in warm water. This followed by some warm layers of clothing toppled by warm breakfast and some warm loving before we hit the door. And then as you commute, you realize that this morning routine – that you’ve become so accustomed to – is only but a dream for some of the people you see sleeping out on the streets. It’s a reality, and a cold one at that.
With winter in season, we thought of 10 ways you can thaw some hearts and pay it forward.
- Volunteering at a Community Centre/Kitchen Soup
Homeless people, unemployed youth, people with disabilities, the old aged, students and their academic success, special needs animals, environmental awareness? The list is endless and that list needs you. Find out what cause you’re passionate about and then go champion it.
- Buying a homeless person a warm meal and drink from a restaurant that serves your favorite food.
KFC, Steers, Nandos… Hey, if not, how about cooking and preparing a meal package for them? Love is an actual food ingredient that goes a long way, beyond just filling up the tummy.
- If you can see that you can afford it, why not pay for someone’s groceries at the till?
It’s a random act of kindness and they’ll walk out there feeling all mooshy and super blessed. I mean, imagine if someone did that for you?
- Donate some warm clothes to a charity
Just make sure they’re in good condition. Sew up any tears or holes and donate!
- Leaving a note containing an encouraging bible scripture or kind message within the pages of a library book.
If anything, I experienced the powerful effect of this. Finding a card that had such a deep impacting quote; words which I definitely needed to hear at the time. And now I sit and wonder… Why not deliberately do this? Deliberately write out scriptural or encouraging messages and leave the rest to God? He sure has a way of making sure it gets into the right hands at the right time. Even I can attest to this.
- Buy fruit and veggies from your street vendors rather than your retailer stores.
And hey, why not allow them to keep the change. Let’s not forget that they too have bills to pay and families to support. Your generosity is only but an appreciation of their strenuous efforts to make a living.
- Donate blood
That moment when your ‘loss’ is someone else’s gain. This is a sacrifice that goes a long way.
- Write a meaningful long letter to a good friend
Don’t you miss those days? When we wrote notes and cards to each other before cyber walls became a thing (which isn’t a thing anymore now)? How about 10 things you love about them? Quirks that you adore? Dreams that they have that you’re rooting, supporting and believing with them for. And besides, letters are great! You can keep them and read them over and over and over again- especially when the going gets tough.
- Smile and Compliment
Firstly, ensure that it’s genuine. Too often we allow our compliments to dissipate into thin air by not actually airing them out. So go ahead and compliment that gorgeous girl/guy that you saw; that stunning outfit that you noticed, that task or job that was executed so well… We’re all in need of a lil ego booster at times- especially when we’re not feeling too sure about ourselves, which does happen alright!
- Giving a homeless person a shopping bag or backpack filled with essentials
……especially if you’re familiar with them. Some ideas on what you can get depending on what you can afford are: milk, bread, margarine sachets, sanitary pads, socks, tissue, soap bars, toothbrush, toothpaste, towel, raincoat, sleeping bag, knit hat, old jerseys and jackets (still in good condition!) and a simple note/ letter of hope and encouragement. You’ll never know what a mustard seed of hope can manifest in one’s life.
These are only some of the ways you can spread some love this winter and beyond. Remember that service to others is not about giving away your extras. It’s about making a sacrifice out of goodwill, the kind of sacrifice that is outside of your comfort zone. It’s an illustration of Love, a manifestation of Faith and a flaming of Hope. This bible scripture explains it better…
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”- but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” (James 2:14-17)