The widow’s mite Alfie watched the girl’s trembling hand. It had grasped the little coil of metal and now it was moving slowly – very slowly – along the wire. Her hand paused, fingers clenched on the handle…then edged on again. ‘She won’t do it,’ thought Alfie. ‘She’s shaking too much. Any second now.’ And sure enough a moment later… FX BUZZER …the buzzer sounded and Alfie said with a broad grin on his face: ‘That’ll be fifty pence please!’ It was evening of the Summerhill Youth Centre fair…and Alfie was doing his bit to raise some much- needed money. He’d brought in one of his favourite toys from home. ‘What a great idea!’ said Mr Davis, who ran the Youth Centre, when Alfie arrived with it under his arm. It was one of those games where you have to keep your hand really steady as you try to move the metal circle along the wire – over bumps and round loops – all the way to the end. But if the metal circle touches the wire even for a moment… FX BUZZER …the buzzer sounds and the game is over. ‘Another 50p. Well done, Alfie,’ called his mother from the tombola stall, which was next to his own. ‘That game’s a little gold mine!’ she said. ‘I’m sure we’ll raise enough money for the repairs to this place. Just look at the state of it. Terrible.’ ‘Hope so,’ said Alfie. And he really did hope so. He looked up at the broken window on the opposite wall, now boarded up with wood and tape. How good it would be if they could repair that window he thought…then perhaps he could stop feeling so bad about it. But it had been Steve’s fault really. It was Steve who’d brought the football inside the Youth Centre and had started kicking it around when he knew he wasn’t supposed to. It was Steve who’d told Alfie to have a kick. Just one kick, and – FX WINDOW SMASH Alfie hadn’t known what to say or what to do. He looked at the coins in his box and began to add them up…five pounds…ten…fifteen…nearly twenty pounds. He’d have nearly twenty pounds to give Mr Davis when the fair was over. Perhaps that would even pay for the window. Well…he would have twenty pounds…so long as nobody won the jackpot. But that wasn’t going to happen! Alfie got thinking. It was a bit like that story they’d learnt about in school that day. From the bible it was. The widow’s mite. A mite. What an unusual name for a coin!’ In the story Jesus was in the temple watching as a group of wealthy people gave their money for charity – lots and lots of it. And then an old lady had come forward and given just two coins – two mites – hardly anything. ‘With my twenty pounds I’m just like one of those rich people,’ thought Alfie. Then he thought about the old lady. ‘I’m not like her,’ he thought… ‘she had almost nothing to give.’ Another boy stood in front of Alfie. It was Steve. ‘This looks easy,’ he said. ‘How much?’ ‘Fifty pence a turn,’ said Alfie. ‘Make it all the way to the end and you win the jackpot – fifteen pounds.’ ‘You’re on,’ said Steve and he picked up the metal loop. Alfie watched Steve’s hand. It didn’t tremble like the others had done. He longed to hear the sound of the buzzer… The last loop. If Steve could get through this he’d have done it – the jackpot would be his – and what would Alfie have… …he’d have almost nothing to give Mr Davis. Go on, buzzer, thought Alfie. Go on. But the buzzer didn’t sound. Steve carefully rounded the last loop and placed the handle down. Alfie didn’t speak. He felt hot…like his face had gone red…like he was holding back tears. ‘It was for the window,’ was all he managed to say. Steve took the money - though he didn’t seem very happy about it – and disappeared into the crowd. ‘I can’t believe it,’ said Alfie. ‘Just a minute ago I had nearly twenty pounds. Twenty pounds to give Mr Davis. And now what I have got? Three pounds fifty! What can you do with three pounds fifty? Nothing!’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s three pounds fifty,’ said his mum. It doesn’t really matter if it’s one pound fifty…or just two pence. What matters is that you’ve done it…it’s your contribution…nobody else’s.’ Something about what she said made Alfie think. What was it his teacher had said about that bible story – The widow’s mite…? She had said that it showed Jesus was more interested in what was in the heart of the giver than the size of the gift… Alfie looked at the money in his tin. ‘Three pounds fifty,’ he said, feeling uncertain. ‘Excellent,’ said Mr Davis, ‘that’s what we like to hear!’ ‘It’s not very much,’ said Alfie. ‘Nonsense,’ said Mr Davis. ‘Every little helps! And do you know,’ he went on, ‘the strangest thing just happened. I had a great pile of coins given to me by Steve. Said he’d won them on your stall. And he muttered something about repairing the window. You know, Alfie,’ he said, ‘I think you’ve done even better than you know.’ Alfie smiled…and then he gave his money to Mr Davis. Perhaps they would get that window mended after all.