Sunday, 1 September 2019

Compassion

My seniors group is always interesting, more because of the combination of personalities than because of the activities and content and this recent happening was no different.
The morning was drawing to a close and we were suddenly interrupted when a very thin woman with her hoodie pulled up over her head, obscuring her face came in the front door.
She was half crying and said she had come for a food voucher so while somebody went to get the person in charge of food vouchers the woman sat on a chair, just to the side of our group.
After a moment of surprised paralysis I went over and said "So, tell me what's going on for you?"
She blurted out that she hadn't eaten since Sunday (this was Wednesday) and followed up with "after that I had the vomiting and diarrhoea"
Her way of saying it was disorganised and I wondered how it all fitted together, then had the idea to offer her some immediate food in the form of our morning tea left overs. I was sure there was an egg sandwich somewhere but when I went to get it, there were no sandwiches to be found. There were a few strawberries and some teeny pieces of a rich chocolate slice. She thought some strawberries were all she could manage so I handed over the mostly empty punnet. At around the same time, Miss London loudly said "Give her a sandwich."
I didn't respond to Miss London and my attention was focussed on other things so I can't confirm the next part of the story but word has it that Miss London was poked n the ribs and asked to be quiet!
A funny story for a bunch of old church ladies.....

While all of this was going on, Ann was rubbing the woman's shoulder and talking about blood sugars.
"Tell me your name? " I said
Sandra
"How is it at home? Are you staying warm? Would you like a blanket?"
Yes, an extra blanket would be a help

By this time the person had arrived with the food voucher "Can we get a blanket for Sandra?" I asked. The answer was an unequivocal yes.
The voucher lady led Sandra away for a bit and when they came back there was a backpack, blanket and food voucher. I felt it was a small miracle,  I had expected someone would need to buy a blanket and take it to her or maybe she would be given a voucher for that, too.

Somehow, oddly, the strawberries made their way back to me and I packed them away in the bag they came from.

As we got in the car to leave, Miss London was visibly distressed and I knew it would be best to take her to her favourite seaside haunt for lunch. As it turned out, all she wanted was a coffee. It was an unexpected little insight into the heart and mind of a woman who has seen it all. 

31 comments:

  1. A remarkable story by all accounts. It is only those who have "seen it all" can come up trumps like that.

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    1. I feel l ike some people who have seen it all go the other way?

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  2. This touched my heart, the have-nots are all around us through no fault of their own so good you watched out for her. Kindness is sometimes the only balm on a bad day.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. For a brief moment I unkindly wondered if I was being taken for a ride but as my kids pointed out, it's a lot of trouble to go to for a $20 voucher.

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  3. She got more than I got from a dozen places I went when my home and belongings were lost catastrophically two weeks ago! Good for you.

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    1. Everyone thinks someone else will do the right thing! I'm sorry your experience has been so miserable

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  4. It is good when Christian people give practical help to those in need...instead of praying, listening to sermons and all that other stuff. As an aside, this is why my mother, a lifelong atheist like me, supported The Salvation Army. That admirable organisation really does do plenty of things to help others.

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    1. I hope our care and concern is in the realm of extra ordinary.

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  5. I'm glad she received food and practical help. I agree with Yorkshire Pudding, Christians giving practical help to people in need is what is required the most.

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    1. Yes. It is rare for someone to come through the door looking for help so we always seem to be unprepared. It was nice for everything to come together this time.

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  6. Well, I've been waiting on tenterhooks for the next Miss London story...
    It's hard to. believe in this so-called wealthy country that someone like Sandra goes without food for four days
    It's appalling. Just as well she found the Salvos to help her out.
    Alphie

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    1. There is no reason that anyone should go without food in this country but it happens more than we realise.

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  8. Thank you for seeing the need and doing something to help, kylie.

    My uncle left home at an early age and went to the big city with only the clothes on his back. The Salvation Army looked after him and he was a lifelong member and supporter. He was one of two favourite uncles of mine and I have a soft spot for the Salvation Army for their no-nonsense helpful approach, not just to him, but to all in need.

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    1. There's no credit to me here, I was lucky everything worked in my favour.

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  9. I found that quite distressing, I have to admit. However it is good to see people being practically kind (regardless of their beliefs or lack of them).

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  10. Hooray for the Sallies. And for everyone with compassion.
    I may have told you before (if so forgive me) but after my mother was extracted from her bombed home in the UK she said that the Sallies' practical kindness was what she remembered most. She supported them all her life, and I do too.

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    1. I appreciate your loyalty and I hope we can live up to your expectations (as well as memories)

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  11. A small gesture but I'm sure it meant the world to that lady!

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    1. I suspect it was a very small band aid on a gaping wound but we did what we could in the moment

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  12. Good to see you [post . It's hard to understand how some people can become completely helpless.

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    1. Sickness makes everything so much worse. I imagine she might otherwise have been competent and composed

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  13. I love that you and your group were able to provide her with some necessities and some comfort.

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  14. Will you be able to find out if the woman continues to receive help? I hope she does.
    Sx

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    1. I guess I could ask if she has come back but I mostly never hear another word about people who come for help

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  15. A nice story of compassion and support. Since she was very thin, I can only assume she often has to go without food, which is sad. I'm sure this story could be repeated many times over in the UK, where thousands of people are now regularly using food banks and the government couldn't care less.

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    1. Being thin and needng help might have been a coincidence, I don't know.

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