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Are you a “talker” or a “doer”? That’s what I’ve been asking myself lately.
Do you just shake your head and sigh about the parts of the world that upset you, or do you take responsibility and try to make it better?
Over the past couple of years I’ve made a tonne of online friends, mainly through the fantastic running group Operation Move
and Brightside Coaching
’s Flourish Project. Being a part of an online community means you’re more likely to mix with people who you might not normally come across in your offline life, so I hadn’t really experienced “doers” before.
These women work, they have kids, some are single parents and others are studying on top of it all. Some have social anxiety, making it a challenge for them to get out and volunteer, yet they still push themselves. They don’t just accept the world as it stands and they strive to help those who don’t have it as “easy” as they do.
Gen is always organising a fundraiser or offering her home as a donation point to collect feminine hygiene products for homeless women (as does Jo). She even came up with her own special way of raising money for a local charity that helps families struggling to pay the bills – by having her friends pledge their exercise goals and donating money. Afterwards they got a shiny medal, because nothing brings in runners like bling.
|Who wouldn’t want this hanging on their wall?
Jo cleans donated essential baby items like strollers and bassinets, which is a huge feat considering some of those things come in caked in food and mould. They’re then sent to expecting families who can’t afford the things that we take for granted.
Leah is forever collecting clothes, toys and blankets or taking food to shelters. Then there are a bunch of women who run races to raise money for charities, medical research and other causes. Otherwise work in the disability, mental health and medical sectors. I’ve left a lot out but basically they put their money where their mouths are.
So when Denyse, who writes some thought-provoking stuff at Denyse Whelan blogs
, mentioned that she’s making cards to be given to homeless people inside care packages
, I figured it was time to start following the example.
I’m a bit strapped for cash at the moment so a donation big enough to make any real difference was out. I started doing a bit of reading and came across this Mashable opinion piece
by Chris Taylor that really got my attention.
He talks about the way we think of homeless people as a homogeneous blob (of course he’s much more eloquent on the topic), which makes us feel both helpless to lend a hand and feel like we’re excused from the duty anyway.
“If you’re sleeping in the streets, at the end of your tether, afflicted with diseases like depression or drug addiction, you desperately need society to tell you still matter in some way,” Taylor writes.
|My origami skills got better after making 25 of these
So with that in mind, I thought about what I’d want to hear or what I’d say to a friend if they were living on the streets.
I made these cards to remind me that every person I see living on the street is another person with their own story, their own feelings and their own set of circumstances. And I made them so that someone without a safe place to stay might feel like someone cares about them.