Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. – Diana, Princess of Wales
This quote appears on the GoFund Me page set up by Sydney woman Silvia Levame after learning about an elderly man and his dog who were doing it tough.
Levame read about Paul’s plight on a local community Facebook group and knew she couldn’t ignore someone in need. She set up the crowdfunding page to help the almost 84-year-old who needed money urgently to deal with a slew of immediate problems.
“It seems so unfair that a 84-year-old man who lives in a prosperous country is left homeless, has many medical complications, is being pursued by the legal system, has council staff enforcing regulations and no one stands back to ask – where has our humanity gone??? – Well for us it is obvious that OUR community doesn’t accept that crap. It would be UN-AUSTRALIAN to accept this injustice without a fight.” writes Silvia on the GoFundMe page.
Once the page was set up, Levame shared it to the Facebook M2020 group and by the evening the community had exceeded the initial $500 goal, donating $2000. Further attention on Facebook groups Marrickville2020, Marrickville Pay it Forward, St Peters2044 and a spot on morning TV saw the amount rise to $3000.
The figure now stands at $8,130, with the target continuing to shift. Levame said, “That goal has been changed over 10 times and will continue changing for as long as people’s generosity and solidarity continue.”
Paul is just another example of how close to homelessness, many people in Australia are. After being washed out in the floods in Coffs Harbour, he found himself alone with nowhere to go. He bought a car and caravan and headed to New South Wales.
Unfortunately the registration ran out on both vehicles, leaving him in limbo, as having an unregistered car and caravan means he is not allowed to park on the streets. Paul now has accumulating fines because the plates have been removed from his caravan and car.
Paul is a proud man, and has been very firm about the kind of help he is willing to accept, considering himself better off than many other people. Getting his car and caravan registered and roadworthy are his immediate concerns.
His story has struck a chord with his local community and as his plight gains attention the community at large.
Aside from the fund, people have been very generous offering Paul clothes and providing warm meals. Sambo has also benefitted from the community’s kindness with food and local vet Sam has taken care of some of his most pressing needs. However more is needed to get this man and his best friend through the cold months ahead. The exceptionally harsh winter conditions this year are a stark reminder that many people in our communities are doing it tough and could do with a helping hand.
Asked what she has learned from this experience, Silvia said, “The knowledge that the community that responds to compassion and solidarity is very powerful; that the power of giving and the joy of knowing that someone is smiling because of our actions is priceless. “
The exceptionally harsh winter conditions this year are a stark reminder that many in our communities are doing it tough.
If you’d like to join this wonderful community and donate to Paul and Sambo, please visit their page Paul & Sambo 2020 and pledge your support.