Friday, 19 December 2014

The Season of Goodwill

One of my New Year Resolutions for 2014 was to 'be kinder'. I'm going to be completely honest and admit that it's not been an easy one to stick to as I am naturally grumpy! But I've tried very hard to be kinder this year and I think I've done pretty well, considering my ingrained propensity to speak before I think.

One of the easier ways I have kept to my resolution is by donating to charities. I've supported Marie Curie Cancer Care since their wonderful nurses allowed my mum to die at home with her family as she wanted and the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline since I got involved with them back in 2009, but this year I have branched out and have donated to a different charity every month. Mostly these have been those smaller appeals that seem to slip under the radar, the ones you become aware of through other blogs and Twitter. This year I have become aware of foodbanks for the first time and perhaps because I am a mother now, I've been really saddened by the thought of families who can't afford to feed their children, especially at this time of year.

Foodbanks are used by people in genuine need. Vouchers are given out by doctors, health visitors, social workers, welfare officers and the Citizens Advice Bureau where they have identified a family in crisis. These vouchers are then taken to a foodbank and swapped for a box of essentials which will last three days. Some even deliver to those who are unable to get to a foodbank or who live in rural areas. And the number of people who have needed to rely on food banks this year is up 163% on last year, meaning that food banks need our help more than ever.

It's so easy to donate and it really doesn't cost a lot. Just adding a few extra tins to your trolley when you go shopping would help to make a difference to those who are struggling and you could really help to ease a difficult time for families who are dreading the festive period. Many supermarkets have in-store donation points or if you are an online shopper like me, you could visit the Trussell Trust website and find your nearest foodbank to donate to directly. You can even donate money by text - it really is that easy.

How simple (and kind) would it be to forgo your £4 Starbucks festive drink and spend that money on some tinned goods, tea bags or dried pasta for a family that's struggling to make ends meet? One coffee that's gone in 10 minutes or some staple food to feed a family for a couple of days? It's kind of a no-brainer, right?

The Trussell Trust have a list of their most wanted items, which includes the obvious basics such as baked beans, tinned tomatoes, dried pasta and cereals as well as tea, coffee, long life milk and sugar. As well as these I like to donate something that might bring a smile to the recipients face, such as tinned sponge puddings, small packets of biscuits, a chocolate selection box or children's sweets such as mini packs of jelly tots or smarties. As long as you stick to non-perishable items that are easy to prepare for people with limited cooking facilities then you're helping. Those small pots of porridge that you make with hot water might allow a child to go to school with a warm breakfast in its tummy - I always include them.

I know that Christmas can be a really expensive time of year but we could all make such a big difference by sparing just a pound or two. And who wouldn't want to do that? 


  1. I think it's a really amazing cause! It's good to remember the people that don't have much at this time of year. It's so easy to pick up a few tins during your weekly shop.

    Rach xx

  2. My dad is a quaker and at his meeting for worship he goes to, they donate monthly to a food bank. Being so close to Christmas, me and my sisters each spent £10 on food for the the food bank today. It's amazing how much you can get for £10.
    I'm going to try and donate once a month next year to a food bank :)


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