The festive season is upon us, but social distancing guidelines and restrictions may have you wondering what you can do to get involved and help others. Here are seven ways you can give back this Christmas – or indeed at any other time of year!
Whether food, supplies, , toys or books, making donations is a great way for your family to contribute - and it’s easy. Explain to your children what donating means, and encourage them to go through their clothes, toys and books and choose a few of each that they don’t use or wear anymore to donate to people who need them.
Find local charity shops/centres or charity bins to drop off your donations. It might be worth contacting them ahead to check whether there are certain items they are in need of. It might also be worth checking if they would like donations such as non-perishable food items, toilet roll, cloth masks, gloves and antibacterial wipes/spray, as these have all become essential items.
Talk with your children to decide on an organisation you would like to support and get in touch with their nursery or school to see whether you could work together in collecting donations for your chosen cause. If you don’t have time in December, it could be a holiday project with donations given in the new year.
If school/nursery are willing, arrange for a contactless donation box to be placed in reception. Make a sign or poster to be put up and shared in their newsletters, giving ideas for types of donations and encouraging other families to join in. With goods collected, your family can drop everything off at a donation centre or charity shop together.
Placing an order online? Why not buy a few and have them sent to the children’s ward in your local hospital?
Whilst doing your weekly food shop, why not add an extra item or two and put them in the food bank baskets that are often located near supermarket exits.
Many organisations, such as food banks, have adapted to contactless services. Search for family opportunities and see what might satisfy your desire to involve your kids in giving back, whilst also maintaining a comfortable social distance.
Many families are separated right now. Posting Christmas cards through your neighbours’ doors and including a message and phone number for elderly or new neighbours, or for those living alone, will let them know they’ve got friends nearby and help the vulnerable feel less isolated.
This is something you and your children can do together. Put some Christmas tunes on and get creative! For people who live in nursing or care homes, or are in hospital over Christmas, this season will feel especially lonely, and a cheerful card will help brighten their day. Consider making them for you neighbours too – handmade cards and gifts show that you care and have taken time to make a special effort in wishing them well.
Aside from monetary donations, there are items you might have around the house, or could buy and donate, that would be really helpful to animal charities and shelters. Call your local animal shelter to ask what supplies they need before you donate, as shelters will vary in what they can and can’t accept as well as what they need.
It takes a lot to provide for all the animals in their care and they will go through supplies quickly. They are often in need of items such as food, leads, collars, toys or cleaning supplies. Bedding and towels can be really useful for them, especially during the winter, but it’s always best to check before turning up with them.
Teaching your children to think of others and to give back is important, and it can be an instant mood-booster for all involved - something we all need this year!