Last Minute Gift Shopping: How about the gift of giving?

At this time of year a charity gift can be a great option for that friend or relative who has everything. I also find a donation to charity can help appease some of the feeling of constant spending and excess during the Christmas season. So if you are shopping for last minute gift ideas I have put together a list of 5 local charity gift ideas, some with a food twist:

  1. Donation to a Food bank: Compared to last year food bank use in Glasgow has increased by 40%. Within our city and across the UK families will be worried about being hungry this Christmas. A decade ago food banks did not exist. There was 1 Trussel Trust food bank in Scotland in 2009, there are now 15 in the Glasgow area alone with lots of other charities also running food banks. Some food banks such as the Glasgow North West (NW) will be providing food packs and Christmas dinner to its users. There are 2 ways you can support work like this: either by taking food directly to a food bank or by donating money directly to food banks in your area. Information about local Glasgow food banks can be found here, including a handy app to let you know what food they are short of and a link to make a cash donation.
  2. Refugee Crisis: We have all been aware this year of the awful journeys many people across the world are taking in order to flee war, torture and oppression. Scotland is trying to provide welcome and safety to some of those in need. Glasgow in particular has been welcoming asylum seekers and refugees since 2001 and there are many great charities and organisations within this city who work very hard to do this. One of which is the Govan and Craigton Integration Network (GCIN), which I am vice-chair of. The workers and volunteers in this organisation provide information, social support, women’s groups, men’s groups, homework clubs and also a food bank for both asylum seekers/refugees and the local people of Govan and Craigton. To donate to GCIN or other local charities like it please see here for a list of some local, national and international charities working within Scotland to provide support to our global neighbours in much need of sanctuary.
  3. Buy a Homeless Person Dinner:  Social Bite is a great social enterprise cafe based in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, where 1 in 4 staff have experienced homelessness. They also have a suspended coffee and food system where customers can leave money for a homeless person to receive free coffee and food. Through Itison you can currently but a homeless person Christmas dinner for £5 and this donation can be sent as a charity gift via email to a friend.
  4. Night Shelter Winter Appeal 2015: Glasgow Night Shelter provides a space for refused asylum seekers who are not eligible for support and homeless non-EU migrants who because of their immigration status cannot access normal homeless services. Every night of the year volunteers provide somewhere warm and welcoming for them to stay overnight and a hot evening meal. The night shelter is always looking for volunteers, especially for extra help at Christmas and New Year, when they organise a Christmas dinner, film and presents. If you can volunteer email glasgownightshelter@gmail.com. Financial donations
    for the night shelter can be made by donating money to the “Glasgow Destitute Asylum Seeker Night Drop In” account at any Lloyds TSB branch, account No: 75140563 and sort Code: 87-37-51 and you can specify  whether you wish your money to go to the hardship fund, the new women’s shelter or to the general night shelter running costs. Due to the winter conditions they are also appealing for donations of  new thermal underwear, socks, t-shirts, and boxer shorts, as well as any clean warm coats, hats, scarves and gloves. For details of where you can drop your clothing donations off, please phone the night shelter co-ordinator on 07929852264/email glasgownightshelter@gmail.com
  5. Mary’s Meals: Although this charity provide school meals to children in developing countries, it is included here as it was set up and is still run from Scotland by the very inspiring Magnus (who I recently heard interviewed on radio Scotland). Mary’s meals provides a meal every school day for over 1 million children in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. This encourages children into education so that there prospects grow, means they can concentrate as their tummies are full and stops them having to miss school to beg for food. Just £12.20 feeds 1 child for an entire year. To read more about Mary’s Meals and to donate please click here

These are just a few wee suggestions for some charity giving based on what I have done this year. Do you have any other ideas? If so please comment below to share ideas.

Merry Christmas xx

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