The month of December is filled with fun, festivities and food for most of us, yet for many others it is cold and lonely. And in the current cost of living crisis, it can feel more overwhelming than ever.
Charitable donations in the winter months are essential. By making a small contribution, you could make a huge difference to individuals and families facing an otherwise bleak winter.
In this quick read, we look at how you can help.
If you want to donate locally, then foodbanks are always looking for donations. More and more people are coming to rely on foodbanks to provide for their families. And this winter, with the high energy costs, for many it can often be a choice between heating a home or missing a meal.
Food parcels offer people staples such as rice, pasta, tea, coffee and cereal. They can also contain cleaning products and toiletries. Avoid donating perishable items such as fresh fruit and veg, milk and homemade foods. Pick up a few extras during your grocery shop and drop them at collection points which can be found at supermarkets or community hubs, such as libraries.
While you may be tempted to donate seasonal items such as mince pies or Christmas cakes, it’s best to check with your local foodbank to see what is really needed.
Check out The Trussell Trust to find your nearest foodbank.
For people experiencing homelessness, low-income families, or vulnerable people, having the right clothes and bedding is imperative.
Homeless charities will need additional coats, gloves, scarves, hats and other items of winter wear to support their clients. Bedding items such as waterproof sleeping bags, blankets and pillows are also needed.
If you’d like to make cash donations, check out charities such as Shelter or St Mungo’s. To sponsor a room for the winter, check out this Centrepoint campaign.
Many local charities that support families would appreciate warm children’s clothing, toys and games. Look at Home Start which has branches all over the country.
Charities need people, and your time is one of the most underestimated ways to offer support, yet is so important. Whether you want to do something hands-on such as volunteering at a foodbank or kitchen, hold a Christmas-themed fundraiser or offer a few hours talking on the telephone, your help is invaluable.
Charities such as Age UK work to support elderly people experiencing isolation and loneliness. You can offer 30 minutes a week to their telephone friendship service. Just having someone to talk to or a call to look forward to can provide a huge emotional boost to someone who spends their days totally alone.