As the Coca Cola advert has reliably informed us, holidays are coming! And while we’re all enjoying the very best the season has to offer – Christmas jumpers, gingerbread lattes and consuming our own body weight in Quality Street – not everyone is in the position to go all-out and enjoy the festivities.
So it makes sense at this time of year, the season of giving, to take a moment to think of those less fortune and do our bit to give back and support those in need.
If you’re keen to do your bit for charity, here are five quick and easy ways to get involved.
1. Buy Christmas dinner for a homeless person
In Scotland, almost 35,000 homeless applications were made in 2015-2016. That’s a pretty scary number. That’s 35,000 individuals and families who don’t have a permanent residence to call home. But can you imagine not having a home at Christmas? No family round the table telling rubbish cracker jokes and arguing over what to watch after you’ve eaten enough food to feed a small country – it’d be awful. This Christmas, you can part with your pennies to help a homeless person get a hot, tasty meal on Christmas Day. Social Bite, a social enterprise café which provides employment for homeless people, is asking for people to purchase Christmas dinner for a homeless person for just £5 – you can get involved here. Elsewhere, for £22.32, you can reserve a place for a homeless person at a Crisis shelter for Christmas – that’ll give them an overnight stay, a hot shower, three meals including dinner and the chance to get a health check too. Find out more on the Crisis website.
2. Support relief efforts in Aleppo
As the situation in #Aleppo continues to unfold, thousands of children are suffering in silence. While there are no easy solutions to this complex crisis, UNICEF is doing everything it can to reach children and families in and around the city with lifesaving interventions, warm winter clothes and blankets, food, clean water and more. #Syria #ChildrenofSyria
The headlines are currently being dominated by the conflict in Aleppo, Syria. The images of the city torn apart by war are heartbreaking. And while Christmas isn’t celebrated in this Muslim country, seeing people suffer at a time of year we so often associate with hope, joy and family is not right. The Syrian government has banned overseas aid from entering the country, but there are agencies working on the ground to help families – you can get a full list of who’s doing what here.
3. Take part in Christmas Jumper Day
This Friday is Christmas Jumper Day, Save the Children’s annual fundraising effort which asks you to don your naffest knitwear in exchange for a £1 donation to the charity’s work. Get your pals, family and colleagues involved and maybe put on some extra fundraising activities too, like a raffle or a cake sale. All money raised will help to save children’s lives, going towards healthcare, education projects, food and protection for millions of children living in poverty around the world. Sign up to get involved at www.christmasjumperday.org.
4. Donate to your local food bank
The UK’s biggest food collection has begun! Over the next three days, wonderful #foodbank #volunteers will be at #Tesco stores across the country, handing out shopping lists and collecting your donated items, all to support people struggling with #hunger in your #community this #Christmas. #EveryCanHelps #NeighbourhoodFoodCollection #TrussellTrust #Foodbanks #EndHungerUK
Food bank use in Scotland is at a record high, with families struggling to find the cash to feed themselves and their kids. The Trussell Trust, a food bank charity which operates across the UK, gave out over 1.1 million three-day food supplies in 2015-2016. It’s not right that people are having to rely on the kindness of strangers to survive – but while we wait on that political scandal being rectified, you can help. Most supermarkets have collection bins at the door these days, where you can pop in items like tinned food, dried pasta and long-life milk, or you can donate to your nearest food bank direct. Find out more at www.trusselltrust.org.
5. Play at Santa
More than 1 in 5 Scots kids are living in poverty – and chances are, budgets won’t stretch to give them the toy-laden Christmas their classmates talk about. To give Santa a helping hand, you can donate toys and gifts at toy banks across the country, or through the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Present Appeal. You just need to purchase a new toy and drop it off – easy!
What will you be doing to give back this Christmas? Let us know on Twitter?