When I lived in Oregon, I attended a church in downtown Portland. On a weekly basis, I saw many homeless men and women sitting in doorways with their belongings in shopping carts, panhandling for money to pay for food and other necessities. It affected me personally, so chose to act. I often came to church with bags of fruit or sandwiches and handed them out to those that were hungry. In the winter, I handed out hand warmers, mittens and gloves, and other items. I even shared my cigarettes with those that asked, providing a small comfort for those that had little comfort. I couldn’t help all the homeless in the area, but I feel I made the lives of a few dozen people a little better, even if only for a short time.
In December, I saw a post on Facebook from my friend, Kathleen. It was during a very cold time in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and she noticed that a great deal of homeless people in her area needed warm coats to deal with the weather. She organized a coat drive in her city and provided warmth to many who needed it. She saw a need and did something about it.
Close to the Christmas holiday, I received an invitation from my friend, Lauren, to attend a fundraising event. Her group of friends wanted to raise money for elderly people who live in a nursing home and do not have family to provide for them. While I could not attend the event, I understand it did well, and she and her friends did something kind for those people.
So often, I hear people complain that more needs to be done to make the lives of others better. They put the onus of the responsibility on the wealthy, businesses, churches, and the government. “Someone should do something,” or “They should do something to fix this problem”. It’s always someone else who should do something.
I disagree. It’s not someone else’s job to fix the world. It’s not the government’s job. It’s not the rich’s job. It’s not businesses’ job. It’s not the church’s job. It’s our job, yours and mine.
We all must take action if we really want to improve the lives of others around us. We can spend an hour or two a week or month and volunteer with an organization whose mission we can support. If we can’t do that, then we can financially support organizations which do perform the tasks of caring for those in need. If we can’t do that, then we can help spread the word about those organizations we support. There are so many ways that we, as individuals, can act to improve our world.
Just think about it. If each person in this country of almost 320 million people took action in one way or another, this country, this world, would be a much greater place.
Next time you see a need, don’t wait for someone else to do something. Do it yourself.