Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Good to help a neighbour

Published:Wednesday | December 10, 2014 | 12:00 AM

HELLO, MI neighbour! Today I say a big thank you to Patrick, whom I met some five years ago. Big-up, Patrick! He could have been easily classified as a low-down, lazy, good-for-nothing bum who squandered golden opportunities and ended up on the streets, where he deservedly belonged.

He greeted me when we first met that morning, with a pitiful "Baas mi hungry", holding his belly. An immediate surge of compassion urged me to engage him. On this, I handed over my home-made breakfast. In three minutes, he 'waxed it off'. With a smile on his face and food in the belly, a conversation with him was now possible - never try to reason with a hungry-belly man, unless he is fasting.

His story was familiar: no food, no family, no job, no money, nowhere to live, no friends, etc. But those weren't his real needs. Food, clothing and shelter would not have added much to his life at this point. His life needed to be revolutionised and placed on a progressive path.

As I reflected on my humanity and our responsibility to one another that morning, it dawned on me that his proverbial shoe could have been on my foot had I made his choices. Simple mistakes and poor choices can really mess us up - big time. And this is not the time to oppress the victim of poor judgment with condemnation and 'judgmentalism'. Who is without sin, by the way?

The commandment to love neighbour as self makes no room for discrimination. The decision to help someone should not be based on who can return a favour. Still, a word to the wise is that we should "help the helpless because we might need help from the helpless whom we helped when we become helpless". Still yet, our motivation to help others should only be based on the fact that they are human beings with a situation which requires our help. And, by the way, give someone a ride after work later.

Uh! Back to Patrick. Why am I thanking him in your presence? After our conversation that morning, I took the risk to invest in him and it paid high dividends. He is now gainfully employed, living with a family, with money in his pocket, etc and championing the cause of many dispossessed neighbours as a social activist. That makes me very thankful for such a high return on my investment! Pick someone to invest in today and watch clay become gold, diamond or pearl! And remember these three essentials for a better world: Love for God, self and others.

Thanks for helping:

1. Neighbour for offering a mattress to another neighbour - please call 334-8165.

2 Mrs Clarke, St Catherine, for helping Olive, who needed a bed - was sleeping on board.

3. Lorna, St Catherine, for offering a bed to Judith, Kingston.

4. Paulette, St Catherine, for donating a single bed to Shanique, St Catherine.

5. Neighbour in St Andrew, for offering two single beds to a needy neighbour, St Andrew.

Opportunities for helping:

n Venice, St Andrew, mother of four. Daughter has been living with scoliosis for last six years. Getting worse. Needs help with cost of surgery - $560,000.

n Neighbour, St Andrew, senior citizen needs financial assistance to sell small items downtown. Trying to generate income to pay rent.

n Sister Joy, blind for approximately five years. Asking for a bathroom and two doors.

n Neighbour, asking neighbours for a bunk bed and a wardrobe.

n Patrice, Westmoreland, mother of three doesn't know where next meal is coming from - unemployed, needs job in Westmoreland.

n Sylvia, Portland, unemployed - asking for a sewing machine, stove.

n Neighbour, St Andrew, brother's leg got broken - unable to provide for his children who are attending school. Wants to rear chickens to help out in the interim.

n Neighbour, Westmoreland, unemployed - asking for a sewing machine.

n Daphnie, Manchester, needs a stove.

n To help, please call 334-8165, 884-3866, 299-3412 or deposit to acct #351 044 276 NCB. (Bank routing #: JNCBJMKX) or send donations to Hello Neighbour, c/o 53 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston 10; email