How you can help charity without giving money
The National Gallery in London boasts several paintings by the Great Masters of the virtue Charity. Charity is regarded as the most important of the three religious virtues – ahead of Faith and Hope.
The paintings depict a personification of charity, making clear that it is best expressed as a human reaction or state of mind. Yet, in today’s world, charity is almost exclusively thought of in terms of money and financial donations.
Perhaps it is important to remember that – even today – charity may be expressed in many ways, including simple acts of kindness, and does not always need to involve the giving of money.
How to help – without giving money
The principle is illustrated by some of the ideas suggested by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) - and some of our own too - for making the most of your giving in 2020. Instead of cash, for example, an equally generous donation is your time, so:
Help a stranger
- helping a stranger can be done in a whole host of ways, many of them being a simple act of kindness – such as holding open a door, giving up your seat on a crowded bus or train, or even just exchanging a smile;
- it is done so naturally and easily that an estimated 63% of Britons did it for someone last year – making both the stranger’s day and their own;
- if you have long hair (ideally more than 16 inches), you can donate it to the Little Princess Trust where it is turned in to wigs for children and young people who have cancer;
Help your community
- if you have an elderly or infirm neighbour, collect their shopping or prescriptions;
- become a volunteer for Age Concern Befriending Services. They offer two options - face-to-face meetings and weekly ‘phone calls;
- many communities have voluntary programmes where you can help by being involved in beach clean-ups, tree planting and tending to local spaces;
- check around your local area where volunteers are most needed – it might be at a homeless shelter, an animal rescue centre or wildlife park, a charity shop, a soup kitchen, or a food bank, for example;
Donationsand unwanted items
- donating blankets, clothing (such as the gloves, coats, and hats likely to be needed when the weather gets colder), and other household items, can go a long way to helping families in need;
- recycle – rather than throwing away old PC’s, bicycles, glasses or even bras, donate them. There are lots of schemes running that accept unwanted items that go to help people in need. For more information, check out websites such as Re-cycle (bikes), Against Breast Cancer (bras), Recyclenow (this provides resources for donating lots of items);
- donating your blood can – quite literally – make the difference between life and death for that stranger who needs it.
Charity is as much as anything a frame of mind or an attitude – and does not rely exclusively on you giving money. Your time, your kindness, your empathy towards others are likely to prove just as valuable.
Any data used in this article is correct as at the time of writing.