The Daily Star

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Monday, January 21, 2013

Storage of winter clothes for the poor


Every year, generous people and organisations distribute warm clothes and blankets to the shivering poor but surely we should be asking, “Who could provide storage facilities for the ultra-poor during the hot and wet season so that such items do not become useless - or stolen - before the next winter?”

If someone is so poor that they lack adequate covering in the cold season, they are not likely to have an airy and dry place to store what they have been given! May I suggest that mosques, temples and churches - as well as individuals of a compassionate nature with spare spaces in their lofts - could offer such places to the poor? Maybe a small sum could be included for good quality wrapping and clear labelling - and maybe access on fine days for giving them a good shake and airing before replacing them? This would be a great charity to those who live in insecure and damp homes or are frequently on the move, for instance, for seasonal work. I have a photo from an old copy of the DS. It shows some politicians giving rice to a poor woman. They are beaming at the camera to make quite sure the onlooker gets a good impression of them. The recipient is casting her eyes to the ground in shame. The real 'donation' to the poor - and what makes it an act of charity and not an exhibition of the status of the giver - is what is too often overlooked - eye-contact, a smile and evidence of unself-conscious kindness. After all, “There, but for the love of God, go I!”

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