I’ve just come back from town. Doing what so many of us enjoy doing; going round the shops, looking at clothes, a couple of impulse buys, seeing what’s out there that’s new and a potential purchase.

But my shopping companion was not someone you might expect me to be hanging out with; he is a young man, from Iran, amateur boxer, currently fighting for his right to sanctuary in our country.

A few weeks ago, he was in the accommodation for newly arrived asylum seekers in Wakefield, Urban House (where Anita and I first met). He had put some of his clothes into the system for washing, but unfortunately never got them back. He was upset. He was attached to some of those clothes, and, quite rightly so, was offended when all Urban House could offer was some other second hand clothes to replace them. Clothes are part of your style, your identity, and, as I discovered this afternoon, there’s a lot of choice in the men’s clothes departments, and he didn’t like most of them! (Unlike my husband, who I now realise is a dream to buy clothes for as he rarely complains about the purchases I get for him).

So, with thanks to the TLC discretionary fund,  we were able to buy him some new underwear and a jumper  that he liked. The thing was, it was a real battle to get him to allow me to buy him anything.

What a lesson learned. He didn’t want me to pay for something he didn’t like, or wouldn’t wear, or didn’t need. He needed some socks too, but didn’t like any of the ones in M&S (how is that even possible?! they’re just socks aren’t they?!!) so wouldn’t choose any.

It really humbled me how, rather than grabbing anything in sight and getting as much as possible, he was cautious, gracious and so grateful for the couple of purchases we managed to get.

Last night on ITV, Adam Smith featured on a TV programme about waste (we’re joking that he’ll be asked to be on Strictly next!). Also featured was a lady who needed to declutter her house as it was affecting her mental health. Just pause for a minute. She had so much stuff in her house that it was affecting her health. I am not judging her, but simply wanting to highlight the worlds that exist in our own little corner of the planet; contrasting my experience this afternoon at one end of the spectrum, with this lady’s at the other.

What being a part of ToastLoveCoffee continues to teach me, is that there are few things in this world that we actually need. And there are many many distractions constantly competing for our attention. But if we can hold on to our health, feel safe, be grateful for the positives in our lives, and find ways to do good for others, the world indeed would be a much better place for us all.

If you would like to donate to the TLC Discretionary Fund, you can do so by clicking here:


published by Anna Dyson
Founder and Director of ToastLoveCoffee. CEO of Dyson family, Roundhay (Leeds) branch which involves a huge array of skills impossible to imagine or articulate! Formerly, Jewish educator and community professional.


  1. posted by Coffee supremacy on Reply

    When you live such a way of life that does not do harm to anyone, and when you try to help others it tells how good person you are. I dont know how old you are but I am and now is socks are just socks, underwear is just underwear, jumper is jumper.. And helth is just what is important

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.