This year I noticed a distinct difference. Almost a quarter of the road refused to give anything at all. That's almost a quarter of the total population, not just of those who answered their doors. A few of them claimed to give to other charities, but the majority didn't give any reason, just that they did not want to give.
This saddened me. Firstly because after a fortnight of media coverage of the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in China, they could not fail to be aware of the necessity of giving. Secondly because they were, almost without exception, young people. The older residents are remarkable. They have their envelopes filled and waiting by the front door and have even been known to cross the road to hand them to me, because they know they will be out, or in the back garden hanging up the washing, when I ring their bell.
Despite the credit crunch we have so much more than our fellow human beings in the developing world. That's at the best of times, let alone in times of crisis. If we are unwilling to put our hands in our pockets and place even a couple of coins, let alone a note, in a Christian Aid envelope, then we are indeed a very sorry lot.