I can’t remember when I first wrote a blog about giving to those in need, or donating to charity at Christmas.
At a time when we’re all running about, gift giving, eating and drinking, it’s really easy to forget that some people are less fortunate. I have a roof over my head, money in the bank (just about), food in the cupboard. It takes so little to change everything.
One missed payslip, a relationship breakdown, a health issue, it can, and has, sent people into a spiral or debt, loneliness, or homelessness.
I’ll be doing my usual, a charitable donation here, a few quid there. I’ve already donated three toys to the Key 103 Mission Christmas campaign. I mean why donate one, when I can skip a posh coffee or two, and afford three?
If like me you fancy giving a little something to someone, I’ve got a list of projects who need help. Whether it’s stuff, money, volunteers or all three. Giving actually feels good, so I do it a little bit selfishly, knowing that I will feel better for having given someone a little something to help them.
In my area, Barakah Food Aid have done so much for the local community, I can’t even begin to express it. As well as regular food/toiletries/baby items for those in need, they also do a Xmas hamper over the festive period. Food, treats, decorations, the whole team work to make sure nobody goes without.
I bloody love them.
They’ll be collecting as usual before and after Christmas, so whether you grab an extra can of beans, or pack of mince pies, or know of someone who may need their help, you can contact them via their Twitter account, or Facebook page.
Locally too there’s Stretford Food Bank. There are a number of Food Banks across the Manchester and indeed North West, but this is my local one. There are a few places you can donate food/supplies to this food bank (details here), and if this is outside your area, then there’s a bigger list on the Trussell Trust website, a network of foodbanks nationwide.
The Food Bank tell me they often run short of sugar, tinned meat/fish, toiletries and nappies, but all non-perishable food is welcome. A full list can be found on their site.
Coffee 4 Craig is an organisation working hard to help the homeless in Manchester, Salford, and Cardiff. Through through soup kitchens, facilitating their access to services or just offering support, they work to break the cycle of homelessness and rough sleeping, to enable people get their lives back on track.
They have a core list of needs on their site, and collection points, and details of how to get involved can be found here.
Mad Dogs Street Project is another initiative that helps clothe and feed the homeless in Manchester/ Operating out of Elliott’s Greengrocers in Chorlton who will regularly accept donations of food and clothing and blankets – making it really easy to get rid of that pair of socks your nan gave you that you really don’t need or want.
I’ve written about Monthly Gift before, but sanitary products can often be something that’s overlooked. It’s so easy to donate to them too, drop them a message on Twitter or Facebook, or pop into Oklahoma in the Northern Quarter with a pack of fanny pads. Easy peasy.
The Booth Centre has a number of ways you can help. You can volunteer and donate your time, help with training and lifeskills, or donate food and drink.
Back on Track works with vulnerable and disadvantaged adults do just that. Again there are volunteer opportunities, and they accept donations too.
Sprucing up the house before Christmas? Mustard Tree accept food, clothes, furniture and soft furnishings. They’re a fantastic charity who also help people reset their lives, and give them a helping hand. You can find out how to get involved here.
Barnabus is another site that you can help by volunteering with or donating. Every little counts.