So last Saturday I spent a few hours hanging around one of the entrances to the Millwall football ground trying to persuade everyone who went by to donate some money to the Trussell Trust. Yeah, at Millwall – the team with the reputation for having the nicest fans in the country.
Why was I there? Good Question (those mind reading psych lectures have really paid off) and one I asked myself several times over the course of the day. This crazy/amazing lady called Alex was doing a 24 hour run in order to raise money for the Trussell Trust foodbank network.
Yes, 24 hours of non-stop running.
I don’t understand how it works either. I can barely stay awake for 24 hours let alone run at the same time. Like I said, crazy/amazing. She started on the track at the Crystal Palace Sports Centre on Friday afternoon and then kept running till she lapped the pitch during half-time of the Millwall game. You can still donate: http://www.justgiving.com/AlexFoodbank24hour.
So there I was, bucket in hand, fake smiling so much I felt like Barbie and getting sick of hearing myself say “We’re collecting for the foodbank network” when I was reminded of the vast spectrum of generosity (I usually get this epiphany during supermarket collections).
At one end you have those who ignore you as they walk past muttering something about 'charity muggers' (Hello! I am right next to you! I'm not deaf so say it to my face!), and at the other end you have those who donate notes rather than coins without you even having to ask. In-between you get those who give you two coppers from their fist full of change and those who dig around in their pockets for five minutes and give a few pounds. And then there’s those who ask where the money goes and give their stamp of approval that it’s to help people in the UK. I’m not wanting to judge people’s generosity (I have been several of these people), what they do with their money is between them and God, but I was just reminded of how different we are.
My favourite moment of the day was when a kid, around 6 years old, pulled on his Dad’s sleeve asking for money to give. I doubt he had any idea what I was collecting for, but something in him wanted to give money away. Maybe because he doesn't have any money of his own, giving away his Dad's money is an easy thing to do (hmmm, I think there's a lesson here). It was totally worth standing in the freezing cold and being called "flower" and "love" by scary Millwall fans more times than I can count just to see that kid make his Dad stop and search for some money. O the things you can learn from children...