Throughout the winter months, it almost goes without saying that a traditional theme is giving and sharing with others. From Thanksgiving and Christmas to New Year; gifts, experiences and memories are shared with loved ones – family and friends.
With Christmas in the rear view mirror, while we’re all tucked up with our hot chocolates and family movies, there are still several other ways we can be “giving” and sharing the spirit this season.
4. Making Charitable Donations
There are several ways you can make donations this winter, including; popping into to your local food banks with any extra tins or packets of food that are going unused, making a one-off payment to a charitable cause of your choice (or on behalf of someone else as a gift), or even heading to your local homeless shelter to provide warm blankets/hats/scarves.
A spokesperson from St Georges Crypt in Leeds told us, “There are lots of ways for people to support homeless individuals or rough sleepers. First and foremost, let them know about the services that are on offer in the city, such as St George’s Crypt. Even if they don’t want to spend the night with us, they might want to make use of our café service which opens at 11am each day, or even access the free physiotherapy, podiatry, optometry, clothing, and professional advice and support that we offer.
“Also, it may sound boring, but money is so important to our ongoing work, as it costs £3,000 a month to keep the Crypt lit and warm over the winter period. We couldn’t continue to function without financial support.
“People can also support us by donating food, clothing and provisions. We’re always in need of things such as tinned meats, soup, pasta, toothpaste, shower gel, washing powder, and other essential items. We tend not to take items such as sleeping bags and blankets as we want to encourage people to use our beds, rather than sleep on the street. But warm clothing such as hats, gloves and jumpers are always good!”
3. Giving A Little Bit Of Time
An alternative way to help charities this season would be to offer a moment of your time. More often than not, the majority of charities run on volunteers – throughout the shops, the fundraising and the active community work, too.
If you find yourself having a spare couple of hours throughout the week, give yourself a challenge of getting hands on and offering to help out where you can.
Types of places you could offer to help include; Elderly Care Homes, Homeless Shelters, Charity Shops, Animal Sanctuaries and more!
2. Offering Your Expertise
It isn’t just charities that need the extra help around this time of year. If you have a particular fondness for a certain task (for example painting or building furniture), you can offer to lend yourself to someone in your own town/city who needs it, too.
With the Christmas season and spring approaching, children are getting new toys, people are clearing out, things can get quite busy and helping with the simplest of tasks could really make someones day.
One way to look at doing something like this is to offer yourself and your expertise in local community groups (via Facebook pages, community meetings, etc).
1. Making A New Friend
Not everyone has such an easy time getting in the festive, positive spirit around this season. Therefore my final suggestion for ways of giving, is to just make a friend.
Giving a little bit of your time towards helping a vulnerable person or someone who feels particularly lonely around the winter could not only help them, but be particularly rewarding for you, too.
Ways to do this include; signing up via the charity Age UK to befriend an elderly person in your area, offering your time to Leeds Mind in order to help someone struggling with mental health by taking them for a walk/coffee/general chit-chat when they need it, or perhaps even just signing up via Befrienders.co.uk to find someone who’d like a friend to simply spend time with and it’ll help you connect with new people, too!