Last weekend I was involved in organising and participating in a charity “Bag Pack” event at Tesco in Golden Island. You know the type of thing; somebody stands at the far side of the till and helps you pack your shopping
I had never done one before and to be honest with you I felt a little nervous, and my fragile state was not helped by having to wear a luminous yellow jacket.
Before I started I thought that it is very important not to upset the general public. I was a little worried that people would be standoffish and wary of who we were
This could not have been further from the truth. The general public of Athlone proved to be extremely generous and were full of wise cracks and banter.
I was concerned that the sight of people collecting for charity might annoy some especially during these financially turbulent times but I was wrong.
People dug deep into their pockets and were happy to toss a few coins into our little white buckets.
When I say buckets I really mean recycled mayonnaise containers.
What’s more they took an interest in what we were collecting for and we were happy to answer any questions
I really enjoyed the different personalities and conversations that I had and it was also a thrill to help people with what many see as a chore.
It reminded me that when I was unemployed I felt isolated and did not get out and about as much as I should, once your confidence takes a battering it can be hard to get it back.
I met more people at Tescos in a two-hour period than I would have done in a week when I was on the dole.
I really hope never to find myself unemployed again but if I do I will make sure to help out with things like this.
For the many of you out there who may find yourselves at a loose end I propose you pick up the phone and find out how you can help your community. It will feel like watching the “Secret Millionaire” Television programme, you just won’t be handing over huge amounts of cash a the end of it
I would never have believed that packing bags for two hours could make you feel invigorated, but it does.
It made me feel useful and that I was making a difference
You see the best in people and believe you me; when it comes to giving to deserving causes Athlone does have the best of people.