Voluntary Service

I attended an interesting discussion yesterday on the nature and manner of giving to charity and charitable acts. The debate (from a religious angle) was whether and to what extent the manner of giving and acting is relevant. Are acts of lovingkindness (a quaintly untranslatable term into contemporary English) essentially more worthwhile than the giving of money?

There was a lot to think about and debate and nothing of course is clearcut.

But more importantly, alongside the abstract issues, the theoretical questions, there was a chance to consider the concrete, the possibilities of doing.

In an adjacent large community hall a large number of stalls had been set up, manned by volunteers representing a wide range of voluntary sector organisations based in the local community. I was moved by the enthusiasm and commitment of these volunteers giving up a day on top of all the time they were presumably already giving in order to ‘sell’ their organisations.

All the stalls were of interest. All were delivering valuable and important services. All were engaged in picking up the pieces and filling in gaps left as the rest of society marches inexorably onwards and upwards. The ‘fair’ was planned and hosted by a local synagogue but the sectors represented were cross-communal and of potential benefit to anyone in need regardless of creed or nationality.

It was a moving and though-provoking display of active doing and care. It made me realise I could be doing more. Do I have the time? Not really. Should I make the time? Absolutely.

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