Ah, Christmas. That time of year when the streets are full of drunken work parties, 90s holiday films are filling your screens and keto diets are discreetly discarded for an overload of carbs.
Christmas is also a time for people to give – and I don’t mean the terrible plastic monstrosities you manage to scrounge for that secret Santa you conveniently forgot about until the last minute. I am talking about giving the gift that matters, and in this case, a gift that could genuinely help a person’s life.
Volunteering and helping organisations and charities are always good if you have time, but in all honesty, particularly at this time of year, most of them are in dire need of funds. So, in the spirit of giving, I have made a short list below of organisations you can give to this Christmas.
Auckland City Mission
The Mission supports people in a variety of ways including food distribution and crises services. This Xmas they’ve found a genius way to combine bad gifts with good. Choose your bad gift and instead of wasting dignity and more plastic on something no one really needs, the recipient gets an e-card of the gift plus the knowledge that the money was spent on something much more important like food and shelter.
Pizza Cat Apron/ Auckland Mission
Women’s refuge helps prevent and stop family violence in New Zealand. In a country where one in three women experience psychological or physical abuse from their partners in their lifetime*, the Refuge works tirelessly to keep some of our most vulnerable people safe. Women’s Refuge have centres all over the country. You can donate funds directly or get in touch with your local centre to see what they need in terms of goods such as clothing, bedding and children’s toys.
If you’re not able to adopt, the next best thing is to donate. Xmas is sadly a super busy time for the SPCA as they prepare for an influx of neglected animals. The organisation helps give care and shelter to all kinds of animals. They are located all around the country and sometimes require other goods such as towels and sheets so contact your local shelter to see what they require.
Asylum Seeker’s Support Trust
People escaping persecution, war, poverty and violence are some of the most vulnerable on the planet. It is a serious global issue with estimates of over 65.6 million displaced persons. ASST supports asylum seekers and refugees in New Zealand with emergency housing and other services such as legal assistance and healthcare. You can donate directly here. You can also donate goods to local refugee and migrant centres by contacting the Red Cross. They often need goods such as bedding, kitchenware and clothing.
Red Cross/Red Crescent
It may be the holiday season but it’s also cyclone season for many people, including us in New Zealand. Cyclones can be devastating and the Red Cross provides a direct way for you to purchase much needed supplies. The Red Cross is also one of the largest organisations in the world and one of the most effective, in my opinion. They go to the worst affected areas in times of humanitarian need. You can donate directly here and choose where you want your donation to go.
Oxfam is one of the largest charities in the world and every year they run a specific Xmas gift giving campaign to help people out of poverty. This year you can buy a gift card which donates the money to a specific cause such as feeding families or giving girls a chance to attend school. In a world where an estimated 130 million girls between the age of 6 and 17 are out of school*, this would be a great start.
Christmas Goat/ Oxfam New Zealand
“1 in 4 New Zealanders live with an access need of some sort” – so states Be Accessible, a social change initiative helping to change NZ to be a more accessible place for everyone. The website provides a simple map of finding specific accessibility requirements in different places, plus support and advice for businesses to be more accessible friendly. You can donate through Givealittle.
There are of course plenty of other charities and organisations you can donate money and/or time to. Here is one list.
*Stats by Women’s Refuge
**UNESCO estimate as reported by the World Bank.Support Villainesse