I like your ideas here TJ.
Originally, way back when, getting close to 40 odd year ago now, I lived in a tiny little town where everyone knew everyone. You couldn’t ‘fart’ without a neighbour knowing about it and for a ratbag kid like me it was awful. When I did something EVERYBODY knew.
BUT, here’s a little story, but a true story all the same.
One very cold morning a father got up to go to work. He stoked and loaded up the fire to warm the house before everyone else got up, then left for work. A hot coal rolled of the fireplace and set the house on fire whilst they were all still in bed, 2 of the 4 young kids perished and the mother was severely burnt. They lost everything they owned, including their home and that tiny little town all rallied together. The towns biggest employer had some houses for his workers, he donated one. Everybody had things the weren’t using, so the community brought them all together, kept what the family would need to setup a new home and auctioned off the rest. They used the funds to fix up the donated house and gave the remaining monies to the family.
It showed me just what a community could do. Now, admittedly, that was 40yr ago and I doubt that same sense of ‘community’ still exists, even there. Nowadays many people are just too absorbed in their own lives, most people I know hardly even know their next door neighbours anymore. Today people are too worried about how they, themselves are surviving in this hectic world to be concerned about their neighbours. Some people are simply too self absorbed to be concerned about others, some would rather see another fall if it meant they could get ahead. That sense of community seems to have vanished, sure you see glimpses of it now and again, but it’s only a glimpse. People are no longer as trusting as they used to be and sometimes when assistance is offered it can be received with a hint of suspicion, like it comes with ‘strings attached’. Even as a community worker, paid by government to assist people, I’ve had clients try to give me money. I explained “I’m paid by my employer, not by the people I assist. You keep your money…” and been looked at like ‘WTF’. People would give me stuff ie furniture, whitegoods etc. Some not in great condition and I’d fix them, then when people needed I’d donate them on. I had a rule “If it came to me as a donation, it went out as a donation” no money ever changed hands. Some thought I was crazy, there had to be a catch. In my view others had assisted me along the way and I was just passing that assistance on. But there was always that questioning suspicion.
There are agencies that people can volunteer through to assist people who want the assistance, the issue there is that often the people who TRULY need the assistance are often the very last to ever put their hand up and say “Hey, I need a hand”. Sometimes community workers know who does truly need the assistance and volunteering can filled that need both for the client and the volunteer.
Now I have a damn headache. But lets talk more, there’s lots of other avenues to be explored here. LOTS.
Merl from the Moderator Support Team