It is a well-known fact that with the season of giving, there is always a glut of receiving things you didn’t want! Martin Lewis (the ‘Money Saving Expert’) has been calling for a ban of unnecessary Christmas presents for years and the Archbishop of Canterbury is also in agreement- suggesting we need to re-focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Whether you are a Christian or not, I would argue that no one thinks that this is exchanging packets of chocolate brussel sprouts or a set of bubble baths that you won’t use for at least six months! This attitude of endless consumerism can also lead to those who can’t afford it feeling very excluded. A lot of the families we work with feel very overwhelmed by the pressure of Christmas, particularly if they have young children who will have spent months talking about which latest toy they want.
Christmas is undeniably a time for generosity and giving but we need to re-evaluate what this means. Why not consider giving to a charity this month in the name of your loved ones and/ or neighbours, colleagues and friends? That £10 you normally spend on a Lynx Africa gift set could help us pay for one child to have a day out with their peers, trying something new. The £25 you spend on the office Secret Santa could be spent on an outing for a teenager, pushing their limits in a fun, adrenaline filled setting. You could even set up a donation page and ask people to donate in lieu of giving you presents. One of the best ways to support a charity financially is by regular giving throughout the year. On December 12th this year (2018), LocalGiving are running a campaign called ‘Grow Your Tenner’. They are pledging to match donations when they are given as monthly donations. Please note that one off donations will not be matched. Regardless of how or how much you donate, we are always so grateful for donations of any size because they allow us to pay for qualified staff, to feed the children proper meals on outings and to try new and exciting things with as many of the children on our caseload as possible.
It is important to note that money is not the only way to give this Christmas. We are always looking for volunteers; both to help us on our outings but also in the office. Why not consider giving a few hours of your time in the New Year to help us help the families of east London who are living with HIV?