For many, the year we spent at home allowed us to find purpose. It connected us all on a deeper level and, in so doing, inspired us to help one another. One industry in particular that banded together to save their communities was the restaurant industry.
At some point in our lives, we reach a point when we start looking for purpose and meaning behind it all. We reflect on our past and how it has made an impact on who we are today and then we seek out ways to find our ultimate happy state or life’s purpose. In seeking, we end up doing and this is what we saw during lockdown and the year we spent at home.
Being kind and helpful to others is one of the many ways that gives our lives purpose and meaning. During a time of crises, when we find ourselves feeling trapped, confused or helpless, it becomes our natural human instinct to want to help others, in any way shape or form, or to find ways to make ourselves feel better and included. When we do this, without any expectation in return, that is when the true art of giving is reflected.
While it’s an important part of surviving, giving doesn’t necessarily mean in the financial sense. We saw people volunteering their time and skills; suppliers and farmers donating food and goods; doctors, nurses and other essential service providers working around the clock; employers assisting their staff by continuing to pay them in order for them to provide for their families. We saw restaurants reopen their kitchens or work in an off-site kitchen to create meals for the needy in their local communities, or to supply feeding schemes. Even when restaurants owners and their staff needed the support themselves, they were willing to extend assistance to others. In fact, it wasn’t even a question for them – they just knew that they had certain resources available to them, which many communities didn’t have access to, and decided to open their doors and help.
We saw South Africans come together again, during a time of great need. The big question is: why? Why do we help others? What is it that makes us step out of our own homes and comfort zones and extend a kind arm to others?
What drives us to help in a time of crisis
In a study referenced in Psychology Today, 85% of respondents said the reason they gave was simply because someone asked them. Donating and giving back is empowering and rewarding; it makes us feel good and it gives us a sense of belonging. We are social beings, with a need to feel socially connected, and our selfless concern for the wellbeing of others is important. Whatever your motivation behind this – whether it be deeply rooted in your personal values and principles, a sense of duty to tackle inequalities, or a personal, life-changing experience – the act itself will leave a lasting impression on those you have helped as well as fulfil something special in your own life. Having the ability to empathise and show compassion towards someone else is a special trait, one that many South Africans have shown to share.
Gratitude is also something that motivates us to give and to continue giving. The overwhelming gratitude expressed by the restaurants that we have supported and the communities they have fed, the smiles and warmth they received from children collecting their first and only meal in a day, is a humbling experience and a reminder to be grateful for what we do have in our lives. It’s a reminder that inequalities will persist and that we should continue helping those in need as much as we can. With that said, on behalf of New Media, Community Chest and Eat Out, we would like to say thank you to our partners and funders, the restaurants and staff who cooked for the needy and everyone else who supported the Fund. Without your generosity and acts of kindness – none of this would have been possible.
Here’s how you can continue to support the restaurant industry:
Order it in