We see Buy One, Get One Free! offers everywhere in shops these days. Often, we don't even need the free item we're getting. But someone else might. Who could you share it with today? Buy one, give one free!
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in.
(Matthew 25:35 NIV)
I met Mary in Wandsworth Foodbank in January 2014 – a beautiful 24-year-old mother whose benefits had been suddenly cut over the Christmas period. She said – matter of factly – that her children had eaten a burger bun (no burger) for that Christmas lunch. Her anxiety levels were raised as she thought social services would take her children away if she was unable to feed them. She had begun selling her furniture to raise money for food.
That was when the local community stepped in: the elderly couple next door donated money from their pension, the local school provided free school meals as the situation continued, and her MP gave a voucher for the foodbank.
As a mother myself, I found myself in tears in the middle of 21st-century London as I identified with her struggle to take care of her children. I have found myself in tears many times since in relief and gratitude to those, known and unknown, who have entered situations providing food, hope, comfort and support. People remembering to drop their donation into the foodbank collection point when doing their weekly shop has meant the difference between eating or not for some people. I have to be honest too and admit to tears of anger and frustration that people made in the image of God are being treated in this way and with such unconcern.
As shop shelves burst with special offers, it seems unbearably hard that for some those offers are beyond reach.
I have nothing but praise and thanks for those who, with no thought of reward, have given food, clothing, presents for children and toiletries to meet the need of those in crisis in their communities. They may never know the results of their actions, but without their actions there would have been no results.
Buy One Get One Free offers are in every aisle in every shop; we may not need or want an extra item but there will always be someone who will – like Mary. So why not Buy One Give One Free and turn those unwanted extras into something of value?
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