I've had a lovely day. My husband's birthday. He took the day off and we did some 'light' Christmas shopping, had a nice coffee and a good old chin wag in a cafe, watched our littlest in her Carol Concert then he went for a run. He came home and had a bath and we got ready to take our treasures out to a local restaurant before tucking them up in their bed and having a bit of time alone together.
Why am I telling you this? I'm telling you because I know I take this for granted, all of it, most of the time. Yes, I have a daily gratitude ritual, yes I really do try to appreciate all the little things in my life but I know I take it for granted. This hit me in the face at the weekend as a post popped into my Facebook feed asking for Help sourcing handbags for homeless women filled with sanitary products.
First, I think I think of homelessness as a male issue. I hadn't realised I did until I saw that post, but I can't remember seeing many homeless women or at least not that often, every homeless person I have given food or money to has been male.
Second, I can honestly, and a little ashamedly, say I have never once consider the issues the monthly cycle has on these poor women. Not once until that moment. I'm not a stupid person. I am pretty well educated and yet it had never crossed my mind.
Can you imagine being cold, lonely, desperate, scared and to add to THAT on your monthly cycle on the streets?
Hideous at any time of year, but in this wet and horrible weather there are women in your local area now who have the indignity of trying to manage what is a general inconvenience to many of us.
The wonderful Brenda Dempsey saw this plight and promoted an initiative called Helping Handbags, that's what had popped up in my news feed. Such a simple thing but it could make such a massive impact on a women out on the streets right now.
Strangely, I've been covering the issue of loneliness on my Facebook page and Periscope this week, as it can really affect people more at this time of year. I couldn't stand by I had to do something, you know this, if you've read my previous blog post. I know my efforts are only minor, in the grand scheme of things, but this little dignity, I take for granted every month as I buy sanitary products and have a place to wash and clean myself, felt so important I had to do something.
So I rang a few people. Jodie Zenou, a friend and local business woman with her husband Banico, she'd said yes before I'd even finished asking if I could use her Fylde Fish Bar in Birkdale as a drop off.
Shoreline's Daniel Tuakli was delighted when I explained what I wanted to do. He works with over 230 homeless people in my local area, again a figure I found staggering. He's always looking for hygiene products etc to give to people who are homeless or who have just been rehoused in their Green Pastures initiative.
What I love in instances like this, is in the misery and sadness of the situation, humankind shows its best side. I literally put this on my Facebook page today and by 8pm I'd had a wonderful lady called Sarah Marie from 10 Dental, Southport, offering me boxes of toothbrushes and toothpaste, friends and family committing to dropping off dozens of bags at Fylde Fish Bar and at my home.
If you live in my area simply donate an old handbag with sanitary products etc (Also I just bought socks, gloves and knickers to go in one bag.) and drop off as per instructions in the poster above.
If you live further afield and you'd like to do something in your local area join the group here.
Christmas can leave people feeling more desperate, more lonely, more unloved. Make a homeless woman feel your love by helping with a handbag today.