After a couple of conversations on this subject, here’s a few ideas about getting involved with kids over the next few weeks. Opportunities from the Team London website, Volunteer Anything, Timebank and groups’ own websites.
Getting involved with a kid in tow is not always easy at Christmas. Year-round projects often wind down for a break themselves, and the bigger seasonal projects (like Crisis) plan in advance and often have full shifts by now. Add to this that if you’d like to help with your child, as an antidote to the crazy consumerism that December inevitably becomes… you need to find an activity that’s appropriate.
None of this makes for a huge number of one-off, over-Christmas ways to help out.
Now here’s the the good news – if your wish is about providing that antidote and making sure Christmas isn’t all about the presents… there are many ways you can do that. And after a quick hunt around, there are many more small things to do than I was expecting!
So, with many thanks to a few Walthamstow Parents on Facebook who came up with a HEAP of ideas – here are some small things you can do with your kid, some organised things you can do with your kid, and then a few bigger things you can do as an adult or year-round.
But thing one has to be: Stick a reminder in your calendar now for next October: Plan Christmas volunteering!
1. The little things.
Take donations of old toys, clothes etc to the offices of RAMFEL in Ilford – working year-round to support people who often have nothing – in their home country or here – having no recourse to public funds. This year the organisation has been very close to closing. The journey, the interaction with the staff and the big boxes of labelled donations helped my daughter see that there’s more to life than just what she can get.
Take donations of food to one of the many collection points for the Eat or Heat Food Bank. – now also up in Chingford. They are also after present-wrapping helpers.
Who do you see on your street/in your building that might like a hamper? Put one together and wander around to their house with it, with the kid.
Buy Fairtrade – online and in supermarkets. Talk about the symbol, and how important it is that what we buy doesn’t make other children around the world poorer or more unhappy. Look for the special sign in the supermarket it’s fun!
2. The organised things.
Friday, South London: Wrapping Presents for Volunteers who’ve been working hard in a furniture re-use charity all year round.
Monday, Euston: Carol Singing at the station with the Big Issue Foundation and others
Tuesday, Wood Green: Packing and delivering hampers in North London with the Basket Brigade. Actively welcoming kids in their FAQs.
Christmas Day, Highams Park: Bake something, cook something or drive someone to this Christmas Day lunch for older people in Highams Park
January: Age UK will be holding some ‘Winter Warmth’ Events in Waltham Forest – seems like a great one for a kid/adult combo.
Every Monday, Brick Lane: Community clean at a Hostel.
Regular: Contact the Elderly. I’m pretty sure this is a more regular thing, but there may be some seasonal bits going on. Find the local contact and get in touch.
3. The Longer term, more adult things.
Crisis – still have shifts to fill this Christmas, take volunteers 16 and over.
Kids Company are having a massive Christmas lunch for kids, but it looks like they’d need people who are already volunteering with them. One for the New Year…?
Get involved with Eat or Heat year-round.
Pheweeeee! That’s the quickest post I’ve ever done. Nothing like a deadline! Please – do me a favour? If you do ANYthing, whether it’s on the list or not, do comment and let me know?! And if any of the links don’t work – please tell me! Happy Doing!