Christmas is for spending time with loved ones, enjoying ourselves and, most importantly, it's a time for giving back.
Whether it be in our communities, in our families or to help those less fortunate and those in need – the majority of us want to give back in some way, shape or form at Christmas, but aren't always sure how to go about doing it.
Well, luckily for you, we have created this lengthy, but easy, step-by-step guide on how you can help out some of Dublin's wonderful charities this Christmas. Big or small – every little helps.
So now you have no excuses!
1. The Simon Community
We all admire their work greatly – from their daily soup runs to their persistence in securing accommodation for those sleeping rough.
Ways you can help:
- Fundraise: Simon can provide you with sponsorship cards, t-shirts and collection boxes if you would like to hold a festive event and raise some funds for the homeless.
- Donate clothing: As the winter months get colder and colder, they seek donations of sleeping bags, hats, scarves, gloves, socks, warm jackets, shoes and thermal underclothing for the Simon Rough Sleeper Team and Soup Run Volunteers to give to people who are sleeping rough.
- Send a Simon Star: Spend €10 to provide a rough sleeper with a warm bed for one night, €20 for a hygiene kit, €50 on a bed, food and Christmas gift. See more options here.
- Sing for Simon: Take part in their 24-hour Carolathon 16-17 December.
If you would like to become a part-time volunteer with Simon, helping out on soup runs or with the social club, the next round of volunteers will be recruited in February 2017, apply here.
2. Pieta House
Pieta House have helped thousands and thousands of people in the last decade.
And here's how you can help them:
- Download 'You Are Not Alone': (This Christmas Rendition Of Michael Jackson's Hit 'You Are Not Alone' In Aid Of Pieta House Is Beautiful)
- Donate €4: By texting PH4 to 50300.
Every little helps.
Jigsaw, The National Centre for Youth Mental Health, provide crucial services in Ireland ensuring that no young person feels alone, isolated and disconnected from others around them.
Ways you can help:
- Donate €2: By texting 'Jigsaw' to 50300.
- Make a larger once-off donation: Here.
4. Dogs Trust
Dogs Trust go above and beyond looking after dogs and their rights every single day. They are working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of abuse and mistreatment.
Ways you can help:
- Sponsor a doggy: Help provide warm beds, food, walks and cuddles, and important things like medicine and vet care for a special pup through monthly donations.
- Donate food/blankets: Dogs Trust welcome certain food items and duvets, towels and blankets (see food donations under their Crimbo tree below!).
- Christmas cards and merch: Buy Christmas cards, calendars and pooch merch on their website.
- Protect Mum: More info here.
- Volunteer: Whether it be now or in the future, check out volunteering opps here.
Most importantly, remember dogs are for life – not just for Christmas.
5. Humans Too
Humans Too run outreach services in Dublin city, including soup runs and the running Brú hostel and cafe. They have over 100 volunteers working daily to prepare meals, provide warm clothes, sleeping bags and emergency supplies around the city.
Ways to help:
- Gift a stocking: To the Humans Too Christmas Stocking appeal before December 16 – more info here.
- Volunteering: Click here for opportunities.
- Donate: If you'd like to donate to this wonderful volunteer-led, non-profit organisation click here. All donations are invested back into helping their service users.
- Donate winter essentials: Sleeping bags, blankets, warm clothing, hats, socks and gloves can be dropped to the new Humans Too offices at 24 Merchants Court on Merchant's Quay.
6. Walking In Their Shoes
Helping the homeless and those in need week in week out, this Christmas Walking in their Shoes have launched a major appeal.
Fill Christmas stockings with goodies like sweets, nuts, mince pies, a slice of Christmas cake, McDonald's vouchers and chocolate and then simply drop it off.
Love kitties? Then help these great guys out...
They're a voluntary, non-profit organisation who rely on donations to survive and under great pressure at this time of year.
Ways to help:
- Donate food: CatsAid welcome food donations, call them on 01-6683529 to arrange drop-off or collection.
- Donate money: From a fiver to €75 – help to buy food, beds, vaccinations and other medicine for their cats.
- Foster: CatsAid urgently need temporary foster carers to foster some of their cats over Christmas and New Year.
Most of us are fortunate enough to be warm, fed and showered with gifts at Christmas – but remember those who are not and do your bit this festive season.
Whether it's donating €2 via text or giving up a few hours of your day to help out – every little helps and we encourage all of you to choose one (or more) of the above and give it a go!