Christmas is such a magical time of year for those who are fortunate enough to have stable incomes with disposable income to spend on presents and luxuries, warm homes, and food in their tummies, yet not everyone in the UK is as fortunate. The Big Issue reported that there were 227,000 people trapped in the worst form of homelessness “rough sleeping, sleeping in vans and sheds, and stuck in B&Bs – across England, Scotland and Wales in 2021.” There’s also an unquantifiable number of Britons who are trapped in temporary accommodations like hostels and shelters. The Covid-19 pandemic’s long-lasting effects and the cost of living crisis have impacted people and many UK households are at risk of falling into homelessness. Worse still is that it’s also estimated that 14.5 million people in the UK live in poverty, including 500,000 children – and with heating costs rising, it’s estimated that more children will slide into poverty by 2023. These statistics are staggering and no one person can solve the problem but there may be some small way that each family can help those in need at Christmas. Here are ways to help the homeless and the poor this Christmas.
One way to give back at Christmas is by volunteering on Christmas day with your family. You can get in touch with your local shelter or a church in your community to see if they host Christmas lunches for the homeless, the vulnerable, or the elderly. You can volunteer to serve food that day or drop off food parcels to those sleeping rough.
You can also get in touch with Crisis, the UK national charity for people experiencing homelessness. They have opportunities to volunteer in England, Scotland, and Wales. The volunteers help in their hotels, day centres, and warehouses to help the charity deliver seasonal cheer. It doesn’t have to be on Christmas day – you can volunteer any time of year, but help is especially needed through to late January.
You can help those who are struggling with homelessness and addiction by directing them to Rehab Recovery. For more guidance on homelessness and addiction, check out this guide by Rehab Recovery.
Many companies offer donation matches or volunteer hours at work when you can take time off to do something good in your community. Talk to your line manager or HR representative to see if your company offers these additional benefits.
If you’re not able to volunteer your time, with many people busy around the holidays with their own families or commitments, donating is another way to help those in need.
You can donate to a homeless charity or a charity that helps elderly people, which will make a difference. The Crisis Christmas Appeal means that if you donate just £29.07 you can give a homeless person a place at a Crisis centre and a holiday meal. The charity also pairs homeless people with advisers who can discuss housing benefits, healthcare access, dental treatment, and even hairdressers to start improving their lives for the coming year.
For children living in poverty, many children won’t have access to fresh food or winter clothes – and won’t see presents under the tree this holiday season. Save the Children allows you to make donations to help bring UK children winter support packages and emergency grants for families.
There are many charities in the UK that need help during the winter months so even if you give as little as £1 or as much as £1,000, every bit can help.
#3 Having a clear out
You may have bedding or sleeping bags you no longer use or warm clothes that you have barely worn in years. Make yourself feel better by decluttering your home pre-Christmas and donating these items to someone who needs them.
If you love knitting, there are places where you can knit blankets or hats for charity too. There’s a Knitting for Charity website. Keep in mind that many people, even though they are homeless and have very little, have preferences as well – and many would prefer black hats and blankets! It’s also advisable to use wool or wool-blend yarns because those are warmer and will protect homeless people from the elements more.
#4 Sponsoring a local family
For children who won’t get many toys or books at Christmas, you can sponsor a local family – get in touch with local Facebook groups, churches, homeless shelters, etc. You can provide fresh clothes and toys for a single family, which will have a specific impact. It’s easy to find inexpensive toys and books at local shops, especially for younger children. You’ll feel the Christmas magic, even more, knowing you helped brighten someone’s holiday.
Let us know on Tria Beauty UK’s Facebook page or Instagram how you give back to your community at Christmas. Whether you simply help a local family have a better Christmas, visit an elderly person without a family at a nursing home, donate to a homeless charity, or something else entirely, you’re bound to have a better Christmas knowing you made a small difference in someone else’s life.