For most of us, Christmas is a season of overindulging on Christmas food, giving and receiving presents and spending quality time with family and friends. But it’s also important to remember that not all of us get to experience the wonders of Christmas – and that’s where you come in.
There are plenty of ways in which you can give to those less fortunate this Christmas. Even the little acts of kindness can go a long way for some. Take a look at some of the ways you can give this Christmas.
1. Donate your unwanted food items to the Manchester Central Food Bank
Having a cupboard clear-out ahead of going home? If so, donate food tins, packs of biscuits, fruit juice cartons and basic toiletries to the Manchester Central Food Bank. You can drop-off your items at various points around Manchester including the Sainsbury’s Local on Oxford Road and the Manchester Universities’ Catholic Student Chaplaincy, which are all on your doorstep on campus.
If you’ve already left Manchester for Christmas, look out for food bank drop-off points in your local area. These can often be found in large-chain supermarkets, making it easy and simple for you to help even while you’re doing your shopping. You can find your nearest local food bank on The Trussell Trust’s website.
2. Help the homeless
There are lots of amazing and inspirational initiatives aimed at helping the homeless in our city. The Booth Centre are always welcoming new volunteers, particularly at a time like Christmas. Or, you can donate money to a number of homelessness organisations across Manchester, including Big Change Manchester.
You can also get involved with helping the homeless when you’re at home this Christmas. You could donate food or clothing items, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or simply stop for a cup of a tea and a chat with a homeless person – there are so many ways you can help and support those in need this Christmas. You can volunteer your time or donate to The Salvation Army, and there’s more information on how you can help across the nation on Crisis’ website.
3. Spend time with the elderly
At this time of year, loneliness can be a major issue for lots of people – including the elderly. To help conquer the issue of loneliness with the elderly, you could write them a Christmas card or invite them round to your home for a cup of tea and mince pie. There are also various events and initiatives taking place with Community Christmas and Contact the Elderly, so you could also refer them to one of the events or even host them at your home on Christmas day.
4. Send charity Christmas cards
If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas cards for your friends and family, why not buy a pack of charity cards? As well as sending your Christmas wishes to your loved ones, you’ll also be doing something great to help a wider cause. You can find charity Christmas cards in most high-street shops or alternatively buy them online.
5. Look out for fair trade Christmas gifts
Whether you purchase fair trade coffee and tea or chocolates and clothes, make it a fair trade Christmas by opting for ethical gifts this year. A simple google will bring up lots of great fair trade shops where you can buy that special gift for someone – or even yourself!
6. Give blood
Support people in need and help to save lives this Christmas by giving blood. It’s quick and easy to do and your help could go a long way to support others. To find your nearest blood donation centre and to check if you are eligible, visit the Give Blood website.
7. Don’t forget to shop local
While it may be a much nicer experience than battling crowds in large department stores, shopping locally this Christmas is a great idea in more ways than one. By shopping locally in your hometown or in bigger city independent stores, you’ll help support local entrepreneurs (whether they are local artists, designers or food producers) and you’ll find lots of unique gifts.
8. Invite an international friend round for Christmas
If you’re living in the UK and heading home for Christmas, why don’t you invite an international friend to your family home for Christmas dinner? By doing so you’re not only showing them a traditional Christmas in the UK, but sharing good food and making memories together.