I’ve mentioned previously that we run a Breakfast Club before school each day for primary children who are referred to the service. Aside from sharing food together each morning with a fantastic groups of kids, the breakfast club partners with local schools who provide a walking bus service to get the children from our centre to school on time.
Every school day for the past five years a group of children has left the centre around 8:30am and followed the same route; through the alleyway, along a few residential roads and into the school gates. And every school day for the past three years, the same little old lady has come to her door or window and waved to the children as they pass by her house.
Over that time we have come to know this lady a little. She’s currently 93 years old and is a member of the Salvation Army. Come rain or shine, she stands waiting for the children to walk past. They know her name now and she can hear them calling for her before they round the corner. Occasionally she provides the group with SA literature or kids magazines, but mostly just beams a big smile to them all and calls “Good morning”. This simple daily act has had a huge impact on the children in how they perceive the elderly and their impression of the wider community as friendly place.
A few weeks before Christmas, I was handed an envelope from one of the walking bus staff. It had been given to them that morning by our elderly friend as they had walked past. When I opened it, I found a cheque for Â£500 towards the running of the Breakfast Club! I went round to see her to say thank you and to ensure that she was sure she wanted to give us that amount of money. She told me bluntly: “it’s my money and I’ll use it how I want!” We agreed that the money would be spend as and when on children from the club who needed it.
Last week we spent the first bit of that money buying a new school uniform for a child that didn’t have one. The gratitude from the parent was really moving, but we were only able to be generous with them thanks to the immense generosity of that one lady who stands and waves ‘Good Morning’ each day.
Be generous with what you have.