It has just turned a month until Christmas, and with many of us looking forward to celebrating and gift giving with family and friends, there are many who see Christmas as a lonely time, especially thousands of children across the world who are in need. Those without families, who have been abused, or live in extreme poverty will not see Christmas in the same eyes as those more fortunate. However, there are projects to support and things which we can do to make the festive season brighter for these children and give their Christmas a warmth and sparkle with simple but meaningful gestures. Christmas after all is about giving, and what better way to really portray this than by volunteering.
There are always donations, to every kind of charity this Christmas, which would always be truly welcomed. But if you are looking to go further to make Christmas special for others in need, here are some suggestions below to spread goodwill.
1. Donate unwanted or excessive Christmas food to foodbanks. Standard food supplies are hugely welcomed for those who may be choosing between food and warmth this Christmas, and emergency food supplies are therefore even more crucial. Food supplies can remind people that they are not alone of forgotten, especially children who feel like they have nobody around to care.
2. Create a Christmas Shoe Box. There are plenty of charity organisations throughout the UK and the world which have this type of programme running. A shoe box is filled with small toys, games, stationary etc. They are sent off to mainly developing world countries for children to open on Christmas day. They are also great fun to make, and little messages and greetings can be put inside! The Samaritan’s Purse foundation run this type of appeal.
3. Great Ormand Street Hospital Christmas Stocking Appeal. Many children at this hospital are too sick to go home for Christmas and keeping families together during these difficult times is essential to the hospital’s beliefs. Therefore, even a £15 donation could help a family stay close-by to their loved ones and children. You can write festive messages to patients or the hospital as well, to continue spreading cheer in any way you can.
4. Simply buy a gift to send to a child in need with CashforKids. This organisation is running a Mission Christmas appeal, where you can donate a new and unwrapped gift and simply drop them off at stores across the UK. The gifts will be distributed to those children who are unlikely to wake up to any presents on Christmas day.
5. Make A Wish Foundation are running a number of campaigns to help children in need to make their Christmas wishes come true, whether this is as simple as sending them to see Santa and Christmas lights, or have a delicious hot chocolate, or a more extreme wish to head to the Northern Lights of Lapland, you can donate to these children who are struggling to find hope this Christmas.
6. Angel Tree is a campaign by Prison Fellowship which gives prisoners the opportunity to send a Christmas present to their children, as this time is especially difficult for prisoners and their children alike. They aim to help families connect and provide children with joy despite not being with their parent(s).
We hope this article has encouraged and inspired you to help those in need this Christmas, and reminded you that there are many different ways to help and contribute in the festive period. Children are not the only age group which may be suffering this Christmas, and you can donate generally as well as to other sectors of society such as homeless or elderly groups. Christmas is a time for giving, sharing love, and building community, and through charity work, donating and volunteering, we can all help to create a better spirit for those in need this Christmas.