Christmas charity: How best to help those in need over festive period

If you want to spread some Christmas cheer to a stranger, here are some pretty great ways to do it

Felicity Hannah
Friday 22 December 2017 17:47
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Give a little bit: A wide range of charities support those in need in specific, tangible ways over Christmas. Here's how you can get involved.
Give a little bit: A wide range of charities support those in need in specific, tangible ways over Christmas. Here's how you can get involved.

Christmas is here but if you still want to spread goodwill to all men, women and children then it can be hard to know how best to give.

You could always make a charitable donation, of course, and many do this time of year. But if you specifically want to make Christmas special for someone in need then there are some great festive ways to give.

Here are some of the best ways to spread goodwill to all men, women and children this Christmas.

Give a child in care a book

Christmas can be a particularly tough time for children in care. So this year the Book Trust wants to send all 9,700 of them a book gift.

For many of these children that book will be the first time they receive anything through the post. And for some of them the gift will be the first book they have owned; something they can take with them.

£10 covers the cost of sending one child one book. Donate here.

Buy a gift for someone escaping abuse

Every year the charity Refuge runs a gift list appeal, to ensure that every woman and child in its services can receive a present at Christmas.

For many women and children fleeing domestic violence, the idea of not being home for Christmas can be upsetting and many have had to run with little more than the clothes on their backs.

You can browse the list and choose a gift for a woman, ranging from gloves to lipstick to perfume, or for a child, including a drum kit, a woolly hat or a train set.

Refuge needs to raise at least £41,000 to buy enough presents for its clients and if it receives more as part of its list then it will put donations towards its general running costs. Browse the list here.

Donate treats to a food bank

The queues at the country’s food banks don’t drop off at this time of year. The Trussell Trust food bank charity warns that many people will have to choose between eating and heating on Christmas Day.

It’s asking that people donate the standard food supplies it needs to help, but also that anyone who can afford to adds some extra festive treats.

A spokesperson says: “We know that providing three-days emergency food supplies and some additional treats will not make someone’s Christmas, but it will provide them with something to eat, and remind them that they are not alone or forgotten.”

It’s getting close to Christmas so it could be best to drop donations directly at a centre if you can, rather than supermarket drop-spots.

You can find your nearest food bank here.

Buy a homeless person lunch

When you sit down to a massive Christmas meal, it would feel pretty good to know that you’re also treating someone else to the same.

The beauty of donating to the Crisis Christmas appeal is that it does far more than provide Christmas dinner to someone living on the streets.

It provides hot, nutritious food for more than 4,700 people over nine days, giving them somewhere to socialise and celebrate the season.

On top of that, it brings them together with advisers who can talk about housing, benefits, finances, legal matters and employment. They can access healthcare, dental treatment, even hairdressers and massage treatments.

You can reserve a place for someone to access all this support and Christmas dinner for just £26.08. Donate here.

Provide a safe bed for a young person

Homelessness is a problem for men and women of all ages, but youth homelessness is a particularly cruel problem; young people often become homeless because it is safer to leave than to stay.

Centre Point provides safe bedrooms and support for homeless young people aged between 16 and 25. It provides a safe place to live, health assessments, support and starts them on a path to independence and a job.

For £18 you could fund a safe place to stay this Christmas for a vulnerable young person. Donate here.

Help someone get home for Christmas

Seeing friends and family is the one thing that really makes Christmas special for a lot of people, even once the fights over Monopoly break out.

However, some people don’t have the option to feast or fight with family this Christmas because they or their loved one is a missing person.

You can support the charity Missing People by donating to its Home For Christmas campaign, helping to keep its support lines open over the festivities. That way, both families and runaways can access expert help if they need to, including the 140,000 children and teenagers who go missing every year.

Any amount will support their work but £25 will help keep those phone lines open when people need it the most. Donate here.

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