Every year I try and do something for charity. Whether it’s to buy charity cards – to eschew cards in favour of a charity donation, to contribute to a fundraiser, or to give to a food bank.
Every year I also retweet this blog post from 2014. Many of the organisations listed are now needed more than ever – and it always proves a useful post (I always update the links so they still work, and you can still contact those listed).
It’s very easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of gift giving and wrapping, remembering loved ones, and the usual pressures of work dos, and how much effort you contribute to the secret Santa given that you got the person from accounts you’ve been having a feud with all year. (Maybe that last one is just me).
This year, the Co-Op have also given me an extra challenge. They sent me a Reverse Advent calendar box to fill. A reverse advent calendar is really straightforward. Instead of taking something you give. So instead of snaffling a chocolate, small bottle of gin or rum, or even pork scratchings (I’ve promised myself that one for next year), you add something that will be useful to someone else – food, toiletries, clothes.
They also sent me a £5 voucher to spend to help start it off. So I put on my ‘what would I do?’ hat and went shopping.
I bought basics. From coffee, to pasta, rice to instant mash to teabags. Stuff that can keep in the cupboard and won’t go off or deteriorate. Stuff that when the money in the account has gone can still be used to make something to eat and get someone through the day – because when you’re in that situation, that’s all you’re thinking about. You’re not thinking calorie count, or ‘is this good for me?’. You’re thinking, will this feed me/my kids/my family and keep us going til I can afford to buy food again?’.
I’m lucky – we’re lucky – in Stretford we have a local Foodbank that I contacted to ask if they would accept the box (they would) and I asked my local bar, Stretford Sip Club, if they’d mind hosting it. That way if anyone else wants to add to it, they can.
There’s no obligation, but I figure if you’ve got a spare can of beans, or tin of tomatoes in the cupboard and you’re passing that way… Well it wouldn’t hurt would it?
In the meantime, I’m going to keep adding an extra something to my basket when I shop. A few pence here, a pound there, and I’ll soon have done a little something to make someone’s Christmas – or January when most of us struggle – a little easier. Take away one worry for a little while.
If that’s not worth a few quid, I don’t know what is.