I know how privileged I am, I really do. No, I don’t have a lot of money, and I do spend more than some to be able to live the way I do… living in the Cotswolds: one of the most sought after regions of the UK, being in a position to properly look after (spoil) my dogs, having ‘fancy’ wellies, actually owning trousers specifically for keeping me dry when working outside when I don’t even have a job that requires me to work outside, I have a car that, touch wood, works nicely and, you know what, I often go out for dinner on a weekly basis.
Like I said, I don’t have a lot of money but I know how lucky I am to simply be able to reel that list off to you.
Equally, it’s not exactly pleasant to be made to feel guilty because of those things. No, OK, they’re not human rights or basic needs but I work damn hard to afford them.
I know, I know, it shouldn’t be a complicated situation; the balance between enjoying certain luxuries and helping others in need, but it can often get slotted into the pile of life worries that builds up so high it’s overtaken the mountain of to-do lists in my recycling bin at work.
Giving money to a charity is tricky, though, even though it sounds so easy: “All you need to do today love, is sign here, here, here and here, hand over your most personal of all details to set up a direct debit and then sign here, here, here and here.” Yeah, OK, except in this day and age people – quite rightly – become apprehensive when it comes to direct debits and handing over their personal info. We also want to know exactly where our money goes, something which some charities can be quite shady about considering those TV ads and billboards are pretty swanky…
With all this floating subconsciously around the stratosphere of my mind, it was quite refreshing to hear about something a bit different going on.
An organisation (not a charity) that’s not guilt-tripping me into throwing my purse at a charity street chugger whilst kicking my shoes off and throwing them in the gutters in shame because I spent a whole half a days wage on them.
CountryCoats2Syria is aimed at us lot, and is genuinely something us country folk can so easily be a part off with really minimal effort. Let’s be honest, out of all the posses of the world we are quite possibly up there with those who get through the most coats.
Upon writing this I decided to collate my coat collection in the name of research. There was the bulky tweed shooting coat, the fancy smart tweed, the fancy smart tweed that replaced the afore mentioned due to a better fit, the wax, the wax’s predecessor, the supposedly ‘waterproof’, the bright yellow I-look-like-a-fisherman mac, the quilted thing…
My heart sank. Honestly, it sank.
There, on my bed, was a mountain of material that had cost me goodness knows how much money that I can only ever wear for about half the year.
“Hi, my name is Jacqueline and I am addicted to coats.” (Read in the voice of one who is stood in front of her support group…)
I feel a teeny, weeny, insy, winsy bit better in thinking that I am not the only one. Oh, I know I’m not… You may as well just put your hands up and admit it! Have confidence in your convictions and all that…
CountryCoats2Syria, as the sharp-minded of you might have guessed, collects coats from groups and organisations such as Young Farmers, livestock markets, hunts, shoots etc. and ships them out to those in need in, your guessed it, Syria. A war-torn and, frankly, scarily uncivilised place at the moment. Your dust covered coat could literally save someone’s life.
And a success story it certainly is. Collections have been suspended to allow for the overwhelming masses they have accumulated so far to be shipped out. (Coats: You’re safe for now).
They don’t take individual donations, but I believe everyone has some kind of connection to a bunch of people who could get involved once they’re back up and running – I’m already thinking about it, why don’t you? (Sorry coats, I guess you’re not so safe after all…)
Images taken from CountryCoats2Syria website