Christmas is the season of giving and there are plenty of ways to give this time of year. If you're really feeling the holiday spirit and want to give to more than just family, there are plenty of ways to help those in need.
"As you grow older, you will discover you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others."
ACTRESS & PHILANTHROPIST || AUDREY HEPBURN
Give unwanted clothes and toys to families who may appreciate some extra help this year. There are plenty of ways to do so. The Salvation Army offers the Christmas Present Appeal which collects toys for children ranging from newborns to teenagers. You can reserve a place at Crisis, a shelter for homeless men and women, to ensure a warm meal and so much more for as little as £26. You can also visit and give goods to your local food bank!
Luke and I always choose a local charity to help out on Christmas. Last year we donated to our local food bank towards ensuring that every family got a turkey for Christmas dinner. I also put together 50+ linen bags filled with necessities that women don't think or have the time to take with them when fleeing a violent situation. I delivered them all to our local women's shelter the week before Christmas.
This year I'm donating to my favorite dog charity, The French Bulldog Rescue Network, who rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home French Bulldogs in need of better forever homes in the USA and Canada. Their volunteers foster these lucky dogs taking care to provide education, training, and a safe loving environment to rehabilitate until they are ready to be rehomed in well-suited loving forever homes. You can make a general donation or send money to a particular pup whos story touches your heart here.
Another organization I've decided to contribute to is End The Backlog, a charity that focuses on shining a light on the massive rape kit backlog in the United States. Due to lack of policies, protocol, and resources, a staggering number of rape kits have yet to be analyzed. Which potentially leaves serial offenders unpunished. Donations help to advocate for policy reforms, working with communities to uncover and address their backlogs, and conduct groundbreaking research.
If you don't have a cause that's close to your heart or you are a bit overwhelmed by all the choices there are, Give Well is a website that showcases top-rated charities, allowing you to discover great giving opportunities!
The Do It Trust offers plenty of volunteer opportunities via a national database based on a simple postcode search. And Age UK offers be-friending, or ‘visiting’ services, where a volunteer can visit or talk to an older person once a week in their own home; a great cause considering many elderly folks regularly go weeks without speaking to anyone.
When we do good things for others, incidentally we do good for ourselves. Doing genuinely good deeds can reduce stress and build endorphin levels. Who doesn't want to feel warm and fuzzy during Christmas?! So bake some cookies for a local charity drive or opt for a coffee at home and give those few saved pounds to a bell ringing Santa Claus. Invest a little time in others and invest in your wellbeing too! Lets all make some meaningful connections this year!