The most wonderful time of the year. We plan months in advance, eat excessive amounts of delicious food, and spend our December days with our nearest and dearest. It is during this exciting time that we are reminded more than ever of those in our world who may not be as fortunate as ourselves, whos’ Christmas may not be as merry. For some, it can be an especially hard time. 2020 may have been filled with a fair share of gloom, but we can still end the year on a high, there are great charities working especially hard around Christmas for those less fortunate, and we want to share how you can support them.
There are various ways in which you can show generosity over the festive period, and I don’t just mean being extra nice when it comes to gift giving. One of the easiest ways you can give back over Christmas is just by buying a little extra food on your daily food shop and donating it to your local food bank. This small act of kindness will not be expensive, will not take you out of your way but will make a family really happy, who may need more support over the holidays. Food banks often look for non-perishable items, personal care and household items since many families struggle to afford these items and sometimes aren’t covered by other food assistance programs. If you’re stuck on what to donate still, have a look at what’s already in your cupboards, as families struggling with hunger may not be able to afford the staples that we usually take for granted. Please note that you cannot donate refrigerated items or items that have passed their sell by date.
You can search for your local food bank at: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/
One of the best things you can give this Christmas is your time. Volunteering for organisations such as food kitchens and homeless shelters, who provide meals for those living in poverty, not only offers an opportunity to give back to the community and spread positivity but it also helps to combat loneliness, as many can feel particularly isolated over the winter period. Additionally, it can be a very rewarding experience, being able to witness first-hand how your efforts are helping others, and you can also form meaningful friendships with fellow volunteers and families involved. Whether you’re handing out food, packing food boxes, or working in a disaster relief area, volunteering allows you to drastically change the life of an individual by helping to provide access to healthy, nutritional food and much needed company. Charities are always in need of willing volunteers, especially during the festive months, so make sure to contact them this Christmas!
Giving back isn’t all about giving money. Cash donations are obviously very generous, but you can also help by donating blood, and this season the IBTS are in desperate need of blood donations. One donation can save as many as three lives. The blood you give is a lifeline in an emergency and for people who need long-term treatments.
You can find your local blood donation centre here: www.giveblood.ie/Where_to_Give_Blood
Giving a gift to someone who is less fortunate is an amazing present, not only to them… but to you as well.
Samaritan’s Purse has created a fantastic way for all of us to easily give gifts to children in countries that are war torn, poverty stricken or subject to natural disasters. You find a shoe box and fill it with essential items such as toothbrushes, school supplies, soap or toys. Items that will keep them entertained and help improve their hygiene. These are things that we take for granted because they are so easily accessible for us to purchase. But for these children, they are items that they will cherish. A perfect gift for you to give this Christmas.
Why not try being creative this Christmas. Making gifts and selling them on independent sites for Christmas is a great idea, but ensuring a percentage of the profit made is sent to a charity will make you feel that Christmas spirit even more. Homemade Christmas wreaths are very popular at Christmas, with many people selling their reusable creations online which you can use every single year. Candles are another gift which everyone enjoys. They’re so easy to make but sell very well. Sites such as Not On The High Street sell a variety of items made by independent businesses which help small companies grow. https://www.notonthehighstreet.com
This Christmas, rethink your gifting habits and consider the differing ways which you can give back to the community, or children who need it most. Christmas is a time of joy and happiness, but for some people it is just a day that they would rather not celebrate.
Make someone’s year a little better by giving back this Christmas time!
By Helen Hunt and Isobel Astill