My Mum has two favourite sayings ‘charity begins at home’ and ‘there is always someone worse off than you’.
There’s a headline making the news this morning stating that nationally there was a huge 20% drop in charity donations last year with good causes receiving £1.7 billion less according to an independent survey by CAF (Charity Aid Foundation) and NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations). You can read the full article here. I know lots of people who donate to charities by direct debit and give as much as they can, as well as others who sponsor children in under developed countries so they can be educated and some who have even adopted snow leopards, I guess we all have our soft spots for various causes. My annual charitable giving is easy to sum up; A poppy (or 6) for Remembrance Sunday, a Help for Heroes wrist band, a donation to Children in Need during the TV fundraising campaign and around 10 charity bags full of saleable clothes to Age UK in our village. I also swap clothes with my little sister a lot, my lovely friend gives me bits and pieces for my girls that her daughter has grown out of and I sell some of my designer clothes/shoes on Ebay to raise some much-needed cash when necessary.
I’d like to give more however, like a lot of people in this economic climate I really do have to be careful with what I can spare. We manage on one wage and have two children to care for, they’re not spoilt but they don’t want for anything and are taught to be appreciative. My Mum has had a massive clear out recently and as she’s retired and with Winter rapidly approaching she decided to take her old clothes to a weigh-in kind of place. I think they pay around 60p per kilo for your old clothes, shoes and soft furnishings. For some the idea of giving away possessions that have some worth and then struggling to pay heating bills etc. is just a no brainer and I don’t blame her. I think the most effective way I can contribute is by giving charity bags full of my children’s old clothing to our local charity shop. I have a real soft spot for older people and the ladies who run the tiny charity shop are lovely, regularly giving my girls books for free ‘because it’s important to get them reading pet’ No matter how many times I argue we always come home with a Mr Men book or two. Age UK do some amazing work with older people in my community where sometimes just having a cuppa and a bit of company for an hour a week makes all the difference.
Without fail every year I end up snapping or losing my Help for Heroes wrist band and head back to the site to buy another therefore doing my bit for another amazing cause that’s close to my heart. You can check out their store here (PS. there are some good stocking filler ideas for Christmas, two birds one stone!)
There are lots of initiatives out there this year, from food banks to Winter coat donation centres and the more traditional collection boxes for those in need over the Christmas/Winter period. Whatever you can do or give will always be appreciated by someone. Charity begins at home and yet there is always someone worse off than you.