Charity. Lending a helping hand to the less fortunate, supporting what we think is a good cause. These are obligatory actions of a fortunate man.
If you happen to have a roof over your head, food in the fridge and any mode of transport that gets you from A to B, then you are indeed fortunate.
If you take a look around South Africa you will learn that our unemployment rate is ranked 8th worst unemployment rate in the world (25%) and the majority of our population are in dire straits with no where or no one to turn to. Our government sure isn’t doing too much about it, but that’s a story for another day. Food is ridiculously expensive, medicine is unobtainable and hope is running thin. These are real issues and not just tear jerkers pushing us to make a R2 donation at KFC or to give a few silvers to our local traffic light guy.
Topping a lengthy list of human issues is surely medical care. Sickness ravages our nation with people residing in some of the poorest living conditions on the planet.
3 weeks ago I received a phone call from my Aunt’s sister who is living in Port Elizabeth. I hadn’t spoken to her in about a year so it really was a pleasant surprise. She explained how they are really involved in the Northwood Children’s Hospice Charity in PE and are hosting the Investec Flora Banquet & Fashion Show at The Boardwalk Hotel. She begun to explain how she would like me to be involved in the charity dinner as they were going to be raising funds that would go towards building a new wing onto the Hospice. With no hesitation I obliged.
The way I see charity is that if you don’t have a lot of money in the bank, because we all know money is tight everywhere, you can offer a different service. You can offer anything you have to a cause. An inspirational speech to an audience of corporate goers who possibly might have the money, being the table entertainment just by being who you are or by picking up a spade and preparing some soil for a vegetable garden. Every action, if taken, will collectively add value to the greater good.
Over the next few days that telephonic conversation really got me thinking about privilege and how fortunate I am. How I was actually going to add value to this event? A few days later I learned that I was to be auctioned off to a table of ladies that had bought tickets to this event and I would be their entertainment at the dinner table for the night. My first reaction was definitely a good laugh as this was a classic duty of a model but thought to myself, none the less, that I’d be happy to share a few war stories with these lovely ladies and share a nice glass or two of sparkling wine. I was just happy that I could add some value somewhere even if it were for the way I looked.
The evening could not have gone better and my presence at the dinner table was well received by all the lovely ladies who shared it with me, not to mention the R400 000 that was raised by the banquet through the auction as well as all the kind donations by the generous guests.
The need for any levels of philanthropy is vital, in helping any way you can. Being more philanthropic has always been on my new year’s resolution list but this year, and especially after this event, I’m going to actively get involved with charities, events and helping people where I can. You must do the same!