Leading article: How our Christmas Appeal helps

 

Share
Related Topics

Boxing Day is the time at Christmas when the focus shifts from the family to the wider world. Historically, it was the day when tradesmen knocked on doors for their Christmas boxes. There were outings to the panto, and in more recent years, to sporting events.

But none of that prepared us for the rudeness with which the external world intruded into our cosy comforts when, on Boxing Day in 2004, a massive tsunami swept across the Indian Ocean, creating one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history with more than 230,000 people killed in 14 countries. The event created, for many in our generation, a link between Boxing Day and the idea of giving to those in need beyond our family circle. The international response to the disaster created one of the greatest humanitarian campaigns ever.

These are hard times, and yet human compassion remains largely undimmed, certainly in the UK. A survey this month by the Charities Aid Foundation discovered that, though giving has fallen by one per cent in the global recession, Britain is the second-most generous nation in the world when it comes to the numbers of people who give to charity. Only the people of Thailand give more.

Our Christmas Appeal this year is evidence of that. The average donation made by Independent readers so far works out at £87. That is an extraordinarily generous amount. Sociologists may be interested to know that people who donate by phone give most, £93 each, followed by those who post, £91, with online donors averaging £77.

But if there are curious differences over the medium of giving, there is no ambiguity in your response to the message of our three charities this year. Each does something to help people in need who cannot find succour or support elsewhere. The Rainbow Trust helps with that most Cinderella of causes, practical and emotional support for families with dying children, whose care falls between the gaps of the statutory services.

The Children's Society looks out for vulnerable children who have run away from home. Their number grows by an extraordinary 300 every day, with Christmas a particularly acute time for the family problems which drive teenagers on to streets which are particularly cold and lonely in what, for others, is a joyful and inclusive season.

And the chord which Save the Children strikes in the conscience of the nation is clear from the fact that, even in uncertain economic times, its emergency appeal for East Africa has become its most successful ever, overtaking even the £6.8m it raised for that Asian tsunami.

Our appeal began this month featuring a child called Umi who arrived a frail, skeletal victim in an African refugee camp. Six weeks later, we are thrilled to be able to tell you, she is a vision of plump-baby good health. Our appeal runs until 7 January, when the 12 days of Christmas are finally over. We hope you will continue to be as generous, confident in the knowledge of the amazing transformations even the smallest gifts can bring.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial IP Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent: Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - A rare opportunity for a Solicitor with expe...

Argyll Scott International: Senior Perl Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Argyll Scott International: Senior Perl...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property / Planning - Bristol

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM - A high qu...

Recruitment Genius: Solar Field Sales Executive

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Shutting down abortion debates and banning the SNP - what a terrible week for free speech

James Bloodworth
 

Rochester by-election: UKIP did less well than expected (and Labour suffered a malfunction)

John Rentoul
US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines