Christmas Charity

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Supporting Local Charity at Christmas

I’m going to talk about supporting local / community charities over Christmas, and how the realization that others are so much less fortunate than you can really bring home how lucky you are to have the things you have. I think that is especially important for younger children, who may not understand that other people have much less than them and may be taking the Christmas they have for granted.

Pick out specific gifts or make shoeboxes full of useful things to be handed out. Wrap them if appropriate (you can wrap a shoebox separate from the lid which allows the organization to add more things or check the contents are appropriate, which is why they are preferred) and talk to your kids about who is going to receive these and what a big difference your help is going to make.

1. Homeless Boxes

A homeless box is a practical gift selection. Ask your kids to think about what essentials they use and what they might need if they were sleeping outside. You can mention how cold and wet it is and ask how they keep warm and dry. Homeless kits usually include things like toiletries, socks, blankets, jumpers, coats, sanitary products, wet wipes and practical food that is easy to carry around, nutritious and keeps well such as muesli bars. In a homeless shelter they may have a bed in a room to sleep on and a shower available, but even something like soap, shampoo, and toothpaste can make a big difference to them.

You can also take a walk through your city centre if you know where homeless people sleep, and if your children are old enough to deal with this. Physically seeing and handing a gift to someone who is homeless may make this seem much more real. This is more for older kids who won’t be upset or confused by what they see.

2. Women’s Boxes

Christmas is a volatile time for families and there are an astounding amount of women in the UK who are homeless or in sheltered housing due to family violence. These often have children. I have a friend who gave birth whilst living in sheltered housing after fleeing her violent husband before I knew her. She had no family to turn to, and hearing her story really brought home to me the invisible struggle that some women go through. These are usually similar to the contents of homeless boxes, but with a more feminine target. Imagine living in a shelter and not even having sanitary towels to use when you need them.

3. Kid’s Toys

A lot of charity appeals go out over Christmas for children’s toys for kids in a situation where they won’t be provided. This can be for low income and homeless families, but also very often for kids in care situations or group homes. If you’re one of my local readers in Cardiff, please check out the St David’s Toy Appeal, which we donate to every year.

4. Food Banks

Food banks collect all year round but if you package up a gift box or basket around Christmas it can help your kids think about where the food goes and why it is needed. When they see their own Christmas spread, it will feel more special and be appreciated. There are families out there with no money to even buy food over Christmas, these will get a referral from the GP or a social worker to the food bank, so you know it’s for those who are genuinely in need. Here is The Trussell Trust’s Christmas Appeal with more information for you.

If you’re not sure who is collecting at Christmas you can usually find information in the following ways

  1. Google Christmas Charity collection and your area and you should find some results.
  2. Facebook – local facebook groups often have all the local knowledge. Put up a post asking if there are any charities or events for Christmas to support.
  3. Contact local churches, as they will almost always have the details of local charities. The Salvation Army, in particular, run large Christmas Present Appeals for children in need and you can click here to search for your nearest location.
  4. Your local homeless charity will certainly be taking Christmas donations.
  5. Your local Women’s shelter will always know how you can help women and children who have been victims of domestic violence or similar.

Get spreading the Christmas Magic and support a local charity!

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