We’ve all done it right? You’re walking down a particularly cramped high street, loaded down with bags and you will find yourself being approached to make a donation or give to a particular charity and to be honest, it’s probably the last thing you fancy doing in that moment so you politely decline and carry on your journey. Sound familiar? It’s something we all do, everyday, without even giving a second thought to whatever the campaign or charity is doing because we’re busy. I’ve done it many a time, walking ever so slightly wider to avoid being caught by an eager looking volunteer in a bright t-shirt clutching a clipboard. For me, part of the problem of randomly being approached is that I already do support a few charities and I’m not able to commit to another one. We’ve always done this from when I started working and it’s just what we do in our house.
Charities support an amazing array of people in our communities. Whether it’s a charity raising funds for young carers, or one to buy a new lifeboat or one to set up a youth club in a community which has nowhere safe for young people to go. There are so many that it can be a little overwhelming to process but the one common denominator is that they are based on volunteers. People who tirelessly give up their time, effort, energy to help others. It could be they lost a loved one to cancer, or their child was rescued by the life guards or their friend is sick and needs to raise funds for a vital operation. Charitable giving is such a personal thing, but we can all become a little desensitized to the actual messages we see, read and hear, especially at this time of year when the big campaigns are ramped up and we are asked to remember those less fortunate than ourselves.
For me, this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert sums up the feeling that people want more than just gifts this year, they want to share experiences with one another, to be real, to connect and to be together. Giving your time or money to a charity to make a change does this. It gives you a level of happiness unlike anything else. Doing something for someone without wanting something back really is easy, it’s just we’ve all been conditioned into buying stuff that it’s hard to break this cycle. Melissa wrote a great piece about her family’s Un-Christmas and having spoken to several friends we are all agreed on not buying gifts this year but doing something together as a group of friends. We just need to work out what we can all commit to time wise with our families over Christmas.
This summer, someone very close to the TMK family had some awful family news about their little boy, Alex. You can read the moving post which Rosie wrote about him here. Thankfully, Alex is making a full recovery and has only a few short months left of treatments before he is totally clear of his illness. Rosie wrote a wonderful update to his latest treatments yesterday which you can re-read here. It made me think how awful it would be if one of my girls was taken ill and was desperate for medical help and equally important blood and that I had not given blood for several years. Weeks passed, life got busy and the thought was still in my head that I should take action. It was free to do this, just a question of giving some time to save a life. So as I’ve been thinking of ways to help others, I’m booked in with The Red Cross to donate blood – I’m anxious as it’s been quite some time since I’ve done this and I don’t like needles (who does!), but I also know that I want my children to see me doing this, to see that you don’t always have to put your hand in your pocket to make a difference and that charity starts at home.
So with all this in mind, I hope that this might inspire someone reading the blog to do something for charity this year, no matter what is it and no matter what size of donation in time or money and make a difference to someone you don’t know. Even a simple knock on an elderly neighbours door and the offer to come round for a cup of tea and a chat. It’s these little things which mean so much and can make such a difference. Let’s all try to care a bit more about one another.
Remember, adventure is out there!
Image courtesy of Winnod, FreeDigitalPhotos.net