Give a little back
Charitable acts at Christmas not only help people but make you appreciate what you have
Beth Johnson has been involved with the charity Cry in the Dark (cryinthedark.org) for 13 years, and is about to make her seventh Christmas trip to Romania to distribute 1,500 gift-filled shoe boxes collected over the past three months. “To me, this is what Christmas is all about,” says Beth. “We take 18 volunteers and distribute the boxes personally to the children. To be around people who see the value in the gifts they’re receiving is quite incredible.” Volunteer opportunities for the trip to Romania in 2018 will be allocated in January, and there are other initiatives throughout the year. It might be too late to send a Christmas box abroad this year but there’s plenty you can do here. The homeless charity Crisis (crisis.org. uk) relies on volunteers to cook and serve meals, share skills or simply to spend time with guests over the festive period. FareShare is having its annual Christmas food collection in Tesco stores from 30 November to 2 December (fareshare.org.uk), and don’t forget to donate to your local food bank this month and in January, when stocks run thin as people are feeling more frugal. Get the kids involved by making a reverse Advent calendar: every day starting on 1 December, put a nice food product in a box, then deliver the hamper of goodies to your local food bank on Christmas Eve (visit trusselltrust.org to find your nearest).