Shropshire Star comment: A time to think of others
Christmas ought to be a time of joy. Yet for many, it is anything but.
The festive season is a time when the most vulnerable and needy in society find themselves peering in at those who can afford to let down their hair and enjoy the holidays.
Though Britain is one of the world’s richest nations, the divide between the haves and the have-nots has arguably escalated in recent years. Now we are a society in which millions of children go to school hungry because their parents struggle to feed them. Our towns and villages depend on the largesse of neighbours as parents head to food banks to do the weekly ‘shop’.
We have become a nation where mum and dad can often struggle to mark birthdays and Christmases, or engage with a pay-day loan company and sink into debt.
Against that backdrop of a nation that is yet to emerge from 10 years of austerity, we should consider the season of goodwill. The Shropshire Star will play its part by co-ordinating an annual campaign to collect and then divest toys. People who have more than enough will be able to make a donation to families who might otherwise be unable to come to the Christmas party. Through our appeal, most can join in the festivities.
And yet we would hope that the festive toy appeal sparks a wider awakening of consciousness. Christmas is not just about putting a smile on the face of children, it is also about preventing loneliness among the eldest in our society. It is about being neighbourly, about clearing snow from drives or helping out with the weekly shop of an infirm neighbour. It is about checking up on people who have no relatives and few friends, it is about giving rather than receiving.
And so while we would urge those who can afford to contribute to make a donation to our festive toy appeal, we would also encourage all members of society to play their part. We live in an area where there is a relatively low amount of crime and relatively high levels of community cohesion.
It is time to think of others, to experience the joy of giving, to be our better selves and to put those in need ahead of ourselves.