Christmas is only a few weeks away and no doubt lots of people are already looking forward to the festive season and spending time with loved-ones.
Organising gifts, visits to family, booking panto trips and squeezing parties into your busy diary probably doesn’t leave time for much else and we’re all potentially a little guilty of not thinking much further than what to buy or where our next mince pie is coming from.
However for some, Christmas is a particularly tough time to get through whether that’s through homelessness, loneliness, struggling to make ends meet or suffering with mental health.
Our Flourish campaign this month is about giving – whether that’s your time with an elderly neighbour who lives alone, lending a helping hand, raising money for a good cause or collecting food.
We can all reach out to those less fortunate in our own unique way – #LetsGive
Supporting our community
Last year, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of staff to support #FlourishAtChristmas with donations of toiletries, food and other essentials to the Trussell Trust Foodbank in Heaton.
Now we’re hoping to do it all again this December and are encouraging teams to collect items for the Newcastle East and West Foodbanks, as well as the Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter in Benton.
Both the Food Banks and the Shelter work incredibly hard throughout the year to make sure that people – and animals – in crisis get support but Christmas is often their busiest time, and you can help make sure that they have the supplies they need to meet this increased need.
Collection day will be Friday 13 December and if you would like to offer your support, these are some of the items the teams are looking for:
• Tinned fruit, vegetables, tomatoes, fish and meat, rice pudding, potatoes
• Pasta sauces
• Curry sauce
• Small jars of coffee
• Small bottles of diluted juice
• UHT mil
No fresh food please.
Toiletries: including shampoo, deodorant, shower gel, toilet rolls and sanitary products.
Dog and Cat Shelter:
• Hot dog
• Fish oil/coconut oil
• Tasty treats
• Grain free wet and dry food
• Tinned tuna and sardines
• Stuffable toys and kongs
• Cat and dog toys
• Tin/can openers
• Lickie mats
• Snuffle mats
• Stuffed teddys.
Please ensure items are within use by/best before date and are boxed and clearly labelled Flourish/Food Bank or Dog/Cat Shelter.
All items must be at dropped off on Friday 13 December between 8.30am and 10am as we have arranged collection with a courier 1NE which is kindly supporting us throughout the day.
Drop off locations
• Regent Point – next to reception
• RVI – Peacock Hall reception
• Freeman – Communications office (behind main reception area)
• CAV – to be confirmed
Christmas Jumper Day
Ways to give back
Lend a helping hand
Whether it’s popping round to visit your elderly neighbour, making an extra dinner for someone, offering your babysitting services to a struggling mum down your street or even making a phone call to someone that is in need of a sympathetic ear, even the smallest gestures can make a big difference to somebody’s Christmas.
Make a phone call
Do you know anyone that has lost somebody close to them this Christmas? A death close to Christmas time can be especially difficult, as families or lone individuals struggle to come to terms with the new family dynamics they will be facing this Christmas day. A phone call to let people know that you are thinking of them and are there for them may really help to make a difference.
Have a food drive
At this time of year, money can be especially tight. Collect as many tins of food, blankets or unwanted clothes that you, your family and friends can find and deliver them to your local charity bank. Even if you only help to keep one extra person warm and fed this Christmas, it will make all the difference.
Raise money for a charity of your choice!
A popular idea is to ask family members and friends to make a donation to a charity of your choice, rather than have a present for yourself. This will set a great example for others by demonstrating the importance of charity, and will really help you to make a meaningful contribution this festive season.
Feed the animals!
Animal lovers may wish to ensure that their local animal shelter is kept running smoothly at this hectic time of year, by donating cat litter, dog or cat food.
Help the homeless
Imagine a Christmas with no loved ones, no home, and no food in your belly. Surrounded by the warmth and celebrations enjoyed by others at Christmas, the festive season can be a particularly painful time for the homeless. Why not remind these people that they are not forgotten, by making and delivering Christmas stockings to your nearby homeless shelter?
Visit the elderly
Christmas can be an especially lonely time for the elderly at Christmas. So, be sure to deliver some Christmas cards, cakes or Christmas goodies to your local nursing or retirement home. Maybe even stop for a game of cards with some of the residents!
Finally, the most giving thing that you can do this Christmas: is to give your time. Volunteering during this busy Christmas period will be greatly appreciated by countless organisations and charities, all of whom struggle with this especially demanding time of year. Take a few hours out of your week to volunteer your time at a soup kitchen, nursing home or any local organisation in need. Your time really is the most precious gift that you can give.
Children from disadvantaged families can go without at Christmas and having a present to open on Christmas day can do a lot to transform a child’s experience of Christmas and will prevent them from feeling left out. Donate any of your own child’s unwanted toys (ones they may have outgrown), or purchase small gifts and tokens to be unwrapped by a disadvantaged child on Christmas morning (there are many campaigns running at this time of the year)