By Amy Hunt
It's that time of year when we're all frantically scrambling around trying to source some last-minute Christmas presents for our loved ones - be they Christmas gifts for moms, Christmas gift for husbands, or presents for other family members or friends.
But while it's easy to get caught up in the spending and frivolity of the festive season, it's important not to forget that Christmas is a time for giving too. Not just the fancy gifts for our families, but to those more in need of help and support.
Christmas is a time to give back to those who might be struggling - and this year, support in all forms is needed more than ever.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit everyone hard - and left vulnerable people in need of even more support than ever before.
So if you're keen to give your support to charities that really need it right now, here are some of the best places to donate to this Christmas.
Which is the best charity to donate to this Christmas?
Of course, any charity you can donate your money (or time) to this festive season is absolutely a worthwhile cause. And often, donating to charity close to your heart can be the best way to go, to know that you're making a difference to a cause that is important to you.
But, if you're after a bit of inspiration on where to donate that needs help this Christmas and beyond, take a look at our list below.
1. The Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust runs the UK's largest network of food banks, and they have been more in demand than ever this year. They help to make sure that everyone - no matter what their circumstances - has access to food when they need it.
w&h has partnered with The Trussell Trust this year to help ensure a #ChristmasForEveryone, with the aim that everyone has access to food if they need it. So we're encouraging you to donate what you can to help the charity continue their vital work this festive season and beyond - and eventually, eradicate UK hunger.
This year, The Trussell Trust saw a 47% increase in need in their UK-network of food banks, so it's clear that our help is needed more than ever in 2020.
You can donate in multiple ways to the charity - most easily via food bank donations. Many local supermarkets will have a collection point near their checkouts you can drop some food in to. But the Trust encourages you to contact your local food bank to ask what items they are actually in need of, to avoid a surplus of certain items and a lack of others.
You can also donate money, or your time, to the charity. Simply click this link here to find out how you can help.
2. Cancer Research UK
Cancer will likely affect all of us in some capacity during our lifetimes, but the life-saving treatment and research Cancer Research UK helps to provide and conduct has been interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The charity now needs our help more than ever to get things back on track, after lockdown halted vital research, and treatment for many patients.
So if you can, make a monthly or a one-off donation to Cancer Research UK here.
3. NHS Charities Together
We all remember 100-year-old war veteran Captain Tom Moore's plight to raise as much money as possible for the NHS back in April, right? (Although we agree that it feels like a lifetime ago now!)
And while Tom raised a whopping £13 million for the NHS Charities Together organisation himself, you can still donate to the charity now to help raise as much money for our health service as possible, while they continue to fight against the coronavirus.
By donating to NHS Charities Together, you are helping to ensure the future of the NHS and to better the care given to patients. Visit the website here to donate.
One other devastating consequence of the UK lockdown has been the rise in domestic abuse in this country, as women and men are forced to stay home with their abuser more, and normal escape routes became limited earlier this year.
But the charity Refuge are doing all they can to help, with their life-saving services to help people escape domestic abuse.
In order to continue this work however, which has increased during the pandemic, they need financial support - making this a fantastic cause to donate to over Christmas if you can. Set up a monthly donation or give a one off donation at Refuge here.
5. Little Village
As well as food banks, so-called 'baby banks' have seen a rise in demand this year, with families needing increased support to provide the necessities for children following financial difficulties.
Little Village is one organisation that provides equipment, clothes and toys to families with children under the age of 5, or women who are pregnant.
They primarily assist families in London boroughs, but also have a handy map of UK baby banks where you can seek help if you don't live in those areas.
As with so many others, their work has been affected by the pandemic, so any donations - be they financial or a donation of items - is hugely appreciated.
While this year has taken a financial and physical toll on many of us, it's also meant that lots of us have taken a serious hit to our mental health. Being left isolated, uncertain, and even fearful of the virus is enough to make even the most mentally tough feel lower than ever.
But the Samaritans are one of many charities here to look after our mental health, and you can help to support them in that work by donating.
£5 a month could help them to answer a call for help that could save a life, while £24 a month could go towards keeping the Samaritans help line open throughout the entire year, to ensure everyone who needs someone to talk to, can.
The Samaritans recognise that the festive season is one of their busiest times, explaining, "This Christmas will be as busy as ever. Last Christmas Day, Samaritans responded to over 10,000 calls for help."
So do what you can to help, and donate at their website, here.
7. Red Cross
The Red Cross support people in crisis across the world, year-round. Currently, they are assisting people in an array of crises - including the coronavirus pandemic, those affected by the Beirut explosion, the Syria crisis and the Yemen conflict.
They function on the generosity of supporters, so to continue to ensure that they are able to be there for people who need them, donations are much needed.
You can donate to the Red Cross in a range of different ways this Christmas. Visit the website to find out more.
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