(Text of my Toastmasters’ speech at FSU on Tuesday 1st of April)
Mahatma Gandhi said “there are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread”.
The saddest thing that I’ve ever seen was a man looking for food in a rubbish bin. Some years ago, I thought that it just happened in Africa or in the slums of poor cities. Unfortunately, this is happening here in Valencia and in every single city of Spain.
Fellow toastmasters and guests: have you seen the TV commercial where the mom says to her daughter tonight we have a magic sandwich for dinner, it’s bread with bread but, since it’s a magic sandwich, you can imagine whatever you want to put inside?
The hardest thing for parents is not to be able to afford to feed their children properly.
Every morning, I drive my wife to her job and we see dozens of people queuing for breakfast outside the Charity House of Valencia. They don’t look homeless, they are people like you and me.
They are people who have lost their jobs and now they don’t have enough money to buy food, to pay the bills and the mortgage. Every single morning, afraid, I think to myself, this could happen to me too.
In Spain we have rescued banks which have sold derivatives and toxic products cheating people. We have done it with the excuse that, after the rescue, the banks will start to lend money again to companies and families, but they didn’t do it.
Now, the government is thinking about the rescue (with the help of the banks) of unprofitable highways.
According to a report by a nonprofit association named Caritas, the economic rescue of 700.000 families without incomes would cost the country 2.600 million euro, half the amount of money that the highways’ rescue will cost.
The Spanish Minister of Finance, Cristobal Montoro, has said that the Caritas report was wrong. With due respect, Forrest Gump said “stupid is as stupid does”. I would like to invite our Minister to visit the Charity House of Valencia, to be in touch with the real country and with the real people, far away from the House of Representatives and the luxury estates, then, he would change his mind.
A man named Michael Bassey Johnson said once “A wealthy and wise man doesn’t shake hands with people, he gives a helping hand.” Dear friends, I invite you to give a helping hand and be altruistic.
There are altruistic people, like a catholic couple of my borough, Valeriano and Irene, who spend all their spare time collecting food to feed hard-up people of our neighborhood.
Fellow Toastmasters, giving a monetary donation, even if it’s a small one, or working as a volunteer in your spare time, even if it’s just for a couple of hours, you’ll be helping to make this world a more livable place. Think about it.