With TV marathons, adverts on the tube and people accosting me on the street, there’s a constant pressure to give to charity. I’m totally amazed by the people who dedicate their lives to such causes; my own wonderful mum has worked for Age UK for over ten years and I have friends who work for Save the Children and Amnesty International. With such dedicated people, it doesn’t matter how much we may give, it never really feels like enough and it’s really easy to feel guilty.
However I’ve found three easy ways to contribute to charity easily and regularly, all of which don’t take up loads of my time but definitely make a difference:
1) Donate to a food bank
My local supermarket has a mini food bank by the tills. A couple of times a month, I’ll add something extra to my basket and pop it in the food bank. It doesn’t have to be masses of items, generally I’ll grab a pack of biscuits, a bag of rice, or a bottle of squash – all nonperishable goods that be stored in cupboards for a long time if necessary.
You can find your nearest food bank through The Trussell Trust, or check in your local supermarket to see if they have something you can donate to when you’re doing your weekly shop.
2) Volunteer at a homeless shelter
I’ve done this twice now and it is honestly one of the most rewarding and humbling things I’ve ever done. I’ve helped out in all areas, from setting up beds and making cups of tea to cooking apple crumble for 30+ people. I’ll be there from about 6.30pm to 9pm and we’ll always eat with the guests and then clear up afterwards as they settle in for the night.
If you fancy volunteering, you can find shelters that need help through Shelter here.
3) Set up a direct debit
This is something that the street chuggers will try and get you to commit to, but if you are genuinely passionate about a particular cause this is the easiest way to donate. Every month I have £10 go to Refuge, the women’s charity. The support they provide to vulnerable and abused women is unbelievably valuable and this may not be a huge amount of money, but every little helps.
You can donate to Refuge here, or take a look on your chosen charity’s website and search for how to donate.