And lest the world go hungry
While we ourselves are fed,
Make each of us more ready
To share our daily bread (FP Green)
Hope is gathering in the various donations for harvest that so many schools, churches and community groups are collecting for us, and storing them up ready for use over the next year. It’s an inspiring sight to see so many people prepared to share what they have to help those who have nothing – to borrow a phrase from another tradition, ‘the wretched of the earth’ – wretched in the sense of possessing nothing of their own.
This kind of community, collective outpouring and sharing is I believe, what Hope is fundamentally about: it is about a community that looks after itself in a shared sense of responsibility and love. All the diverse people of Northampton, rich and poor – including those who often have little more than the people we serve – choose to come together through Hope to bring hope to those amongst them who need help. It is charity in the purest sense; but it is also community development, community solidarity, self-help, community self-resilience as well.
It is profoundly moving and humbling to be the conduit of this outpouring: but it is precisely what I want Hope to be and why I joined it. I want Hope to continue to be, and continually grow to be even more and ever more, a charity fully rooted in its community, owned by it and accountable to it, linked powerfully to those other factors, sporting, political, economic, environmental, that make up the local society. That is why our closer and closer links to companies like Barclaycard, Ricoh, Howdens, Nationwide, Shoosmiths, Travis Perkins, and the hundreds of others, and all their staff who come and give their time, and with the Saints and the Cobblers, and every other binding force locally, is so important. We all work together to bring care, support and dignity to people in need.
Only by working together will communities like Northampton manage the economic forces that make life more and more of a struggle for so many. Only through collective action can we overcome this. Long may the harvest continue.