Everyone knows Hans Christian Andersen’s classic about the Little Match Girl who lights her wares in an attempt to warm herself on a bitterly cold night. The sad truth is, this
story is one fairytale that comes true all too often—not just in Third World countries most everyone expects to be, but even in highly industrialized nations like the United States.
Statistics from just a few years ago put the number of needy children in the United States at 13 million with 18 percent of American children living in poverty. It was also said that 16 percent
of these children are not getting enough food to eat.
While the sad fate of the Little Match Girl touches most everyone who reads about it, not everyone is touched enough to actually act upon it. The plain truth is, it's not enough to feel
sorry or shed a tear of sympathy—but we must do what we can to help. There are many ways we can do our share, and here are a few suggestions to help us get started:
Save your change. A few cents here and there may not seem like much, but they can go a long way in helping to feed the kids who need it most. By collecting your coins, that
of your family’s and your friends’, a few coins when gathered together, can make a big difference in these children’s lives.
Collect old clothes. Many needy children have almost nothing to wear. Common decency aside, this especially an issue when winter rolls round in cold countries. As soon as
clothes have been outgrown by your children, save them and send them to agencies that help keep these poor children warm. If you are sending clothes abroad and the cost of postage becomes
impractical, donate the postage to help the charities which buy poor children new clothes.
Take them toys. Old toys, even those that may be missing a wheel or have paint peels, are very much appreciated by poor children. Many of these kids have little more than
literally sticks and stones to play with. If Teddy's been outgrown or left to grow cobwebs in the attic, let him give joy anew to a new owner.
Make the time. Try spending some time as a volunteer to help needy children in your community. You can teach or tutor, care for or feed them, or even just spending time to
play with them and make friends says it all.
Even kids can help needy kids. Many children around the world are already doing what they can to help fellow children who are not as fortunate as they are,
by saving, selling and donating what they can. But the best way a child can help needy children is to be the best child he/she can be. This idea means if a child works hard in
school and does his/her best in everything he/she does, it teaches other children that there is something a person can do to help themselves. It all starts with
oneself. When the poor little match girl could not do more than just light her matches and make a wish or two, a person can develop skills and learn to be independent, too. Crying and
self-pity will get nowhere, but commitment and study will enable to help not just the person himself/herself but also other people as well. This is probably the most important lesson we can
learn from the Little Match Girl.
Ask any E-elite Class student and they will tell you readily that they work hard and do the best they can, so that one day, they do not only speak fluent and effective Mandarin, but also of
service to their fellow human person. If many of us will keep that in mind, perhaps there will be less little match girls in the world.
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