The power of paying it forward

This week, CJC editor Lindy Diamond interviewed Philip Rubin about his wonderful online movement for generosity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

1) What is the idea behind My Gift to You?
Two weeks before lockdown was announced I found myself at home from work at 2pm and I could see this would be the pattern for a while. Social media was full of stories of people in desperate situations and I just thought how easy it would be to just make a couple extra meals occasionally and take it to someone in need. Or share any other skills or help where I can electronically. And so many other people were offering so generously in many ways on other platforms. Musicians, artists, fitness people, foodies all offering their talents for free. So I just thought why not create a group specifically for people to reach out?

2) What has the response been like so far?
I did some initial research running it by my fiancé and daughter whose opinions I trust and who would have no problem telling me I’m wasting my time if they felt that way. I also ran it by legendary founder of The Village, Vanessa Raphaely who gave it generous and unreserved support so I thought if there is no traction in a couple weeks I’ll just close it down. But to answer your question I think response has been pretty good.  

3) Anything interesting or surprising about the people who get involve or the kinds of things they offer?
I’ve had a couple very interesting DMs about posts which I have had to turn down because they weren’t strictly free offers. One from a surgeon but let’s not go there!

4) What is your advice to South Africans for getting through/thriving through the next 21 days?
Off the bat, very little. Ask me in two weeks. It won’t be easy for anyone and everyone’s circumstances are different. Besides the obvious economic and financial impact there are people in really difficult social situations because of this. We are all anxious about having our freedoms completely restricted, but it is hopefully only for 3 weeks, so in the greater scheme of things… 

Interesting in a country with our history to have everyone reduced to one base level in an instant!

5) Anything else you would want readers to know?
In any difficult situation there is always some positive. We can make the best of this appalling situation and it could have amazing impact on the world when it’s over. Just think of the long term environmental, social and economic gains of people working from home more often, of people networking, people reaching out, getting a glimpse into other people’s lives and how they are impacted by this. By nuclear families having to stay put and having to communicate and cooperate more. Let alone huge medical advances because resources are being plied into research and standard trials are being bypassed. Hardship breeds creativity, new ways of thinking as well as a sense of community. 

The world will bounce back stronger I feel. 

Join My Gift To You group on Facebook.

Philip Rubin

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