Bill Withers: Ain’t No Sunshine Now He’s Gone

William Harrison (Bill) Withers Jr died on 30 March. He left the stage in the 80’s to devote himself to being a husband and a father. Yet, he has never left the public mind. I, like many across the globe, have spent many a late night in karaoke bars across the world, shamelessly and inexpertly belting out one of his musical poems.

C.S. Lewis, the Belfast-born lay theologian and academic said “We read to know we are not alone.” Bill Withers showed us that we listen to music for exactly the same reason – to know that we are alone. He expressed, in a voice as smooth as chocolate at body temperature, what we were feeling deep down inside, but were unable to put into words. He articulated our turmoil. In an instant we knew – he understands exactly how I feel! In so doing he made sense of the moments of senselessness we were battling through. He made us feel that things were going to be ok – Just Lean on Me.

Withers did not die as a result of the Corona virus. He died of a heart condition. However, very few popular songs can describe the current global emotional climate as aptly as his music does. Not many are as gifted as Bill Withers at saying to the world – You are not alone. Lean on me!

At the time of writing 1,062,237 people across the planet have been infected by the dreaded virus. So far 56,633 lives have been lost.[1] More than 3.9 billion people, half of humanity, are in lockdown.[2] No end to this unrelenting nightmare is in sight.

Something heart-warming is coming out of this cauldron of despair. People are leaning on each other. Total strangers are engaging with total strangers. They are volunteering to do the shopping for their neighbours. Entire neighbourhoods are taking to their balconies to sing in united defiance. They are leaning on each other. Across the world, medical professionals are working well beyond the call of duty to help the afflicted. Silently they are saying “Lean on me”.

Today, the Manchester United football squad donated a third of their salaries, approximately £8Million, to the National Health Service in the UK, to help coronavirus patients. This is there way of saying “Lean on Me!” [3]

Thousands of individuals and organisations, in every affected country, are rolling up their sleeves and opening their wallets and their hearts to those close to them, as well as to complete strangers. They are saying in their own way and within their own means – “Lean on Me!”

I remain optimistic. The Covid 19 virus will be tamed and controlled. Life will return to what we consider to be normal. We will go back to work. We will walk the dog. We will go to the gym. We will sip wine in the sunshine.

It is my hope that the spirit of Bill Withers will not die. It is my hope that neighbour will continue to support neighbour. It is my hope that strangers will become less so.

At Feed a Million Mouths International, will continue to provide high nutrition meals to the poorest of the poor in Uganda. Our Buy Breakfast initiative is our way of standing next to the vulnerable and the forgotten. Quietly, we are saying “Lean on Me”.

Please join us by sponsoring a meal for these young people. Our Buy Breakfast program makes it possible for you to provide a meal for someone who needs it as much as you do – but cannot afford it. Will your contribution make a difference? Of course, it will!

One person cannot change the world. But YOU can change the world for one person.







About the Author

Mark Montgomery is a Director at FAMMI. He has been committed to humanitarian development work for most of his adult life – either as a volunteer or in a full-time capacity. He has worked in several East European countries such as Poland, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. He is committed to developing local leadership over “importing” expat talent. He argues that this is the only way to build sustainable enterprises.

Mark holds a MBA and is a Member of the Institute Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC), Member for the Chartered institute for IT (MBCS) and member of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection. He is also a Certified Expert in Microfinance (Frankfurt School of Finance and Management).


Feed A Million Mouths International (FAMMI) aims to feed one million vulnerable people in Uganda within 3 years. FAMMI is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee, allowing it to operate as a Social Enterprise. FAMMI blends, packages and commercialises fortified foods for individuals and At Risk Communities in Uganda. 

FAMMI is motivated by the fact that the quality of nutrition, in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, largely determines what quality of future that child will have. Inadequate nutrition during this crucial period, both for the pregnant mother and her baby, can have a permanent effect on the child’s cognitive and physical development.

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