Somewhere in this world, there is a young woman. 20 years old. She is living with her family in one of the most populated cities in Asia.
They live off the modest income from running a street food stall. They’re not wealthy, but they get by.
Then the pandemic hit. The government instigated strict lockdown laws to protect people from COVID-19. Suddenly the family’s modest income dwindles to a pittance, and they are struggling to survive.
Yet this young woman considers herself better off than some others. Someone she has never met has sponsored her since she was four years old. That sponsorship has allowed her to access education, and now she is studying to be an accountant.
For years, this young woman has seen beggars in her neighbourhood. Every morning on her way to university, she passes people rummaging through rubbish bins looking for something to eat. And her heart has ached for them.
One day, she receives a gift from her sponsor. It’s about US$20. It’s a significant amount. It would have helped the family live a little more comfortably for a while during this period of COVID-19 restrictions.
Instead, this young woman asks her family if they can use the money to help those who are begging on the streets and looking through rubbish for food.
You’d think they would find the decision a difficult one. But her mother immediately draws up a shopping list. They go to the market to purchase ingredients, and in their small kitchen, the family start cooking food for about fifty people.
They make fifty parcels of rice, chicken and vegetables, and they take it to a community project that distributes food to people who are going hungry.
In these unsettling and challenging times, we may wonder if our small instances of care matter at all. We may doubt the difference our contribution can make, and it’s easy to feel discouraged.
Well, if this young woman can turn $20 into a feast for fifty people, I think we all can do plenty. We never know how small acts of generosity or kindness can be amplified to help others, how our actions can spur others on to love and good deeds.
Perhaps we should just go out there and try. Again and again. Until something changes. Goodness knows the world needs a bit more love right now.