CHRISTMAS. RIGHT about now I could insert several paragraphs about how much I love/hate it, how commercialised/non commercialised I find it, my opinions on why the world should/shouldn’t celebrate it, and in short, a load of opinionated text that you would probably skip through, and so you should.
So let’s move on.
I’ve compiled 7 amazing charities that are the epitome of giving, and giving back. Even if you don’t give a shit about Christmas, I’m hoping you’re a decent enough human to give a shit about the people in dire need right now. No matter your opinion on the celebration of christmas itself, let’s make sure everyone actually has something to celebrate.
1 in 3 people live in poverty. Oxfam works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive. They don’t belive in band-aid solutions, and choose hand-ups rather than hand-outs – so you know your donation is making a lasting contribution. Oxfam works hard in 90 countries, reaching over 25 million people, and are one of the most well-known and effective poverty-focused charities in the world. You can give a general donation here, or buy an Oxfam Unwrapped gift here. You can buy a struggling, third-world family a goat, sheep, pig, chicken, duck – even pig crap (excellent manure!), and all gifts come with a (rather funny) card that you can present to your intended recipient. Plus, they start from as little as $10!
A project of CARE Australia (an international humanitarian aid organisation, working globally to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice), Care Gifts is similar to Oxfam Unwrapped, with different options. You can train teachers and health volunteers, send girls to school, help women start a small business, buy a school a toilet, a community a vegetable garden, stock a medical clinic, vaccinate a child – the possibilities are (nearly) endless. Gifts start from as little as $10, and you can browse the entire range here.
1 in 10 Australian children are growing up disadvantaged. The Smith Family works in 94 communities across Australia to improve the lives of these kids. At Christmas more than ever, they are feeling the seperation between them and their friends. The Smith Family has put together an online gift registery, and you can easily buy a couple of presents for these children here, or make a general donation/sponsor a child here.
The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is Australia’s largest and longest running Christmas gift appeal. Through the Appeal, more than 8 million gifts have been distributed to those in need. In 2015, more than 386,000 gifts were succesfully collected. Kmart uses it’s wide network of stores as gift collection points, and through it’s partners, The Salvation Army and Mission Australia, assist everyone that might be having a hard time at Christmas – not just children. You can head to your nearest Kmart and drop off any gifts you have (they don’t even have to be from Kmart!), or you can donate online to the Appeal via The Salvation Army here, or Mission Australia here.
Of the 32.4 million people in the world who are blind, many don’t have to be. Fred Hollows was a passionate eye doctor and humanitarian; he pushed for change, and tackled injustice head on. During his life he restored the vision of thousands of people, both in Australia and overseas. The charity in his name is dedicated to working towards a world where no one is unnecesarily blind – and everyone has the right to high quality, affordable eye care. From as little as $25, you can restore someone’s vision. You can buy a gift card here, or donate here.
GivIt is not-for-profit built around the premise of connecting those who need, with those who have. It’s a national platform where anyone in need – people, charities, organisations – can request certain items, and those who have them can easily donate. Perhaps you recently found your old bicycle, and you don’t need it anymore. Maybe there’s a struggling mum in your city who can’t get to work. GivIt can connect the both of you. Perhaps you’re replacing your microwave. Maybe there’s an elderly man nearby who just lost his wife, and can’t cook for himself. A microwave could be just what he needs – and GivIt can put you in touch with each other. Different people are in different situtions, and different charities require different resources. You can browse the registry of wanted items here, or register your own unwanted items here. Around Christmas time, this is also the perfect way to find a home for your unwanted gifts. (we all get them!)
A social welfare organisation, the Salvation Army works in over 127 countires. In Australia alone, they help over 1 000 000 a year – that’s one person every 30 seconds! In a standard week, they provide meals for the hungry, beds for the homeless, refuge for the abused, food vouchers, counselling, family tracing, aged care services – and assist those addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling, and those searching for employment. With so many different ways to help those around you, you know that when you donate to the Salvation Army, you’re making a wide-spread difference. You can help their Christmas Appeal here, or make a general donation here.
The ways you can drastically turn around someone’s life are limitless – and what better way to wake up Christmas morning, knowing across the world or just across the city, someone’s waking up to one of the best days of their lives – just because of you.