Mother Teresa is reported to have responded to a reporter who had commented that her contribution to helping the poor was just a drop in the ocean, by pointing out that an ocean is simply a collection of drops. I have been thinking as we near the Christmas break of all the little contributions which we all make, each one in their own way very small and insignificant in the bigger scheme of things, but which are sometimes life-changing for individuals.
In Apex, for instance, we make an annual awards to teams and people who have gone the extra mile or who have shown innovation and dedication beyond what we would see as being expected of them. This year has been one in which so many challenges have emerged I could cheerfully have given every member of our staff an award, but, as they say, there could be only one winner. There actually was no dispute among the awarding panel that our services in Dumfries and Stranraer, who have done everything possible – and then some – to keep vital foodbank and support services available to those in their locality, had demonstrated a level of commitment to those desperately in need, including many families with small children, which was astonishing. Even during lockdown they found ways to deliver, assess and manage distribution of goods, mobilising voluntary groups, encouraging very generous levels of donation and working all hours under, at times, considerable pressure.
Sometimes I hear people say about foodbanks, ‘well, they should not exist’ and I understand the sentiment. However if you use that as a sort of rationale not to get involved and help those in need, whether or not you think someone else should be doing it, then you have missed the whole point. We are surrounded by people who need us in one way or another and, yes, maybe what little we can do is only a drop in the ocean but I wonder how many of us it would take, just doing a little here and there where we can, to transform people’s lives and hopes this Christmas? Many people are going to find it hard over this time, whether through loneliness or fear or poverty or just life issues, but there is always something you can do if you are prepared to open your eyes and look for opportunities. If you need any help with that you could always talk to us about becoming an Apex volunteer?
As this is my last blog until the New Year can I take this chance to wish you all a great and safe Christmas period and a new year which is maybe just a wee bit less ‘interesting’ than this one has been. Look after each other and remember that nothing changes the world more than a generous heart.