Written by Erin Burns, 3rd year English Literature student.
Christmas is fast approaching, festivities are abound, and tinsel is everywhere in sight, and like most people, I am getting pretty excited about it all. But for some, Christmas isn’t quite as exciting a time, instead it can be a lonely and filled with uncertainty through absolutely no fault of their own. It can be difficult sometimes to see just how much I have, things that I don’t even need, when there are so many others out there who have nothing, and this year, I have decided to try and do what I can to make a difference. I’m not trying to change the world (although I would love to), but if I can put a smile on one person’s face then I have achieved something special. So here are my top five ways to make a difference this Christmas.
- Food Bank
Food Banks, can be an incredible way to make a massive difference for less than a couple of pounds. Picking up an extra tin of fruit or packet of biscuits on your weekly shop may be all that you can afford as a student, but this could be the only treat that a family gets that week. Something which you think nothing of can truly make a difference. There are food banks located all over the city, doing incredible work, and you can find your nearest donation centre on their website.
So why not make a difference this Christmas and go through your cupboards! Are you really going to eat those ten tins of peas?
Find out more: https://southliverpool.foodbank.org.uk/locations/
- Help the Homeless
Winter can be a particularly difficult time of year for the homeless, with harsh weather making it not just unpleasant but truly dangerous for these people to be out on the streets and alone. But there are some inspiring charities out there, trying to make a difference, such as Liverpool’s Whitechapel Centre. The Whitechapel Centre is open 365 days of the year providing daily advice and support to meet the needs of people who are rough sleeping, living in temporary accommodation, sofa surfing, living in squats or living in their own independent accommodation, but struggling to maintain it. They provide a range of different projects and services, including housing advice, welfare rights advice, street outreach, resettlement support, learning and enablement activities, housing support/floating support and supported accommodation. These services ensure that anyone who finds themselves homeless today can access and receive the right support immediately.
So how can you help? Well there are various ways in which you can get involved with the charity, from attending their sleep-in events, to volunteering with them. One of their current opportunities for people to get involved is to be a ‘Night Hub Worker’, this could be a great way to help and make a bit of money for yourself in the process, as staff are reimbursed £115 a shift.
- Buy a Gift Which Makes a Difference
Buying presents is a pretty inevitable part of Christmas, and a lot of the time what we buy is nice, but doesn’t really do any tangible good, so why not this year buy a gift which can make a difference? The charity, War Child, turned 25 this year and after learning about the ways that they help children overcome the trauma of war is truly inspiring. I urge everyone to help give children the chance in life that they deserve by donating or purchasing an item from the Wear It For War Child collection.
Find out more: https://wearitforwarchild.com/
- Volunteer at Marie Curie Hospice
You may be thinking that hospices are sad places to be in. That really couldn’t be further from the truth. It can be a humbling and inspiring experience to volunteer at a hospice, with the opportunity to meet and support people from all walks of life who have many a story to share. This is a truly incredible and enriching experience to take part in and can really make a difference to not only you, but to the people you talk to.
The support volunteers provide in our hospices is vital. Volunteers are involved in a range of areas and roles can include receptionists or gardeners, complementary therapists or bereavement support members, catering assistants or drivers, fundraising team support members or collating feedback from patients and families.
- Donate your Clothes
Like most other people I know, I own more clothes than I could possibly need. Picking up a new top because it is on sale, only to notice six months later that it is still sitting there in my wardrobe with the tags on it. This is something which we are all guilty of, and sometimes a clear out can do not only you some good but could make a real difference for someone who could not otherwise afford to buy themselves the clothes which they desperately need. Donating clothes is such an easy way to do something good, and you may not even need to leave the house to do it, with many charities offering a collection service!
This could be a great way for your whole house to get involved, whilst completely decluttering it before Christmas!
Find out more: https://www.oxfam.org.uk/donate/donate-goods