Faith, hope and charity
According to a report by Oxfam, the combined wealth of the world’s 10 richest men has increased by $540 billion since March 2020. The report states that this sum would buy enough COVID-19 vaccine to vaccinate everyone in the world and ensure no one is pushed into poverty by the pandemic.
Mr Amazon, aka Jeff Bezos, is one of those guys. Apparently his net worth increased by $13 billion on one day in July 2020 when Amazon’s stock price experienced a huge surge.
These are big numbers with lots of noughts that I for one find difficult to comprehend. I am not too sure whether these 10 men are sufficiently good and true for my liking to read the Oxfam report. Frustratingly, as none of them are on my contacts list I can’t do much to encourage them to do even a bit of the right thing and give some of it away.
So instead I will encroach into what is normally the prerogative of Dame V: charity shops. I am genuinely concerned for her equanimity as she will have had to live through the last 10 months of in/out lockdown with extremely limited access to one of her favourite activities – rummaging through charity shops and emerging triumphantly with an exquisite little number that I would never have spotted.
But it is of course not only a dame who has been left high and dry by this; the major charities have suffered considerably due to the enforced closures of their high street outlets. In a normal year, charity shops take £1.4bn in revenue, with about £330m in profit for parent charities. It is hoped that once the shops are allowed to reopen that some of that lost revenue will be clawed back. People will be keen both to donate unwanted items and rediscover the forgotten art of browsing after all.
Meanwhile we can all do our bit to help charities in a number of ways: some of the major charities are selling goods online, so why not buy from them rather than adding to Mr Bezos’s totally superfluous millions? Another option is to locate donation banks for unwanted items that will then appear in the charity shops when they reopen. Or how about utilising the British Heart Foundation’s freepost service for sending donated items? Finally, there is always the option of making donations directly to the charities if we have any spare cash.
There are three words in the title to this blog and it is the first which is currently exercising me. I insist on having faith that we can get through this, that we can work together to help vaccinate all the peoples of the world against this virus. I have faith in humanity’s intrinsic goodness, and that has been given a huge boost by the initial actions of President Biden.
I sincerely hope that I am wrong about the intentions of the world’s 10 richest men. I hope to be proved wrong. I hope this will work.