As you may probably know, charity and giving are so important to me. In fact, they are central in my life as a Catholic. At times during the year (such as Lent), it is easier to remember that I should be going out of my way to help others and give generously of myself. However, in all honesty, in the busyness of ‘normal’ everyday life, it can sometimes be hard to remember that I should be making an extra effort to reach out to others.
Helping others is something that my parents have instilled in us for as long as I can remember. Not only is this linked to our faith, but also as just how we make the most of what we have by sharing with others. I think that sometimes when we think about charity, we tend to think about helping people “less fortunate than ourselves”, however I don’t think this is always the case.
I am very passionate about the work I do with The Metanoia Project. As a young teenager, I attended the youth groups that the charity runs and I now volunteer with them – helping spread the Gospel to those in our city, but also when we run streams at the Celebrate conferences across the country. Being very passionate about their faith, Ruth and Joe White (who are the charity’s directors) are incredibly inspiring and have really helped me grow in my faith. Volunteering with them is so enjoyable and is the cause that I am most passionate about, especially after seeing the effect that the charity’s work has had on both myself and the vast array of people that The Metanoia Project reaches. I really encourage you – if you live in Preston or the surrounding area, and are passionate about the Catholic faith, or would like to learn more about it, visit their website, see what the charity is all about, and see what’s going on that you could get involved with!
As a family, we enjoy doing what we can to help others. For example, after a recent cake sale we held, we had around seventy leftover cakes. Instead of going to waste, we donated these to our local foodbank where I’m sure they were a lovely treat for those who rely on it.
Our parish also has boxes at the back of church where members of the congregation are able to donate unperishable foods each week. As our church building is also getting a bit old, the community is currently having a big drive to raise funds so that the church can be repaired. So far, fundraising events have included a cake sale and a quiz, amongst other things. One of my favourite aspects of parish fundraisers is how it really helps the community to come together and have fun. Uniting around the cause of fixing our church has really brought people together and has helped make the parish feel like even more of a family.
Our Church is also involved in The Rwanda Group Trust, which runs a shop in Syke Street, Preston. Members of the community bring unwanted clothes to a box at the back of church which are then sold in the shop. The money from the clothes then goes to help people in Rwanda. Since we have been very young, my parents have encouraged us to donate our unwanted clothes and toys to the Rwanda Group. I believe that this introduction to charity at an early age really helped develop in me a love of giving, and helping others in any way I can.
However, I do believe that giving and being charitable are not limited to ‘official’ charities. There are plenty of other ways to help others that do not involve charities. For example, just going out of your way to help other people in your everyday life – for example, perhaps your elderly neighbours may need someone to help with their shopping, or to mow their garden lawn? You could also get involved with helping at a local foodbank or soup kitchen. The most valuable asset that most people possess is time. Even if you just have an extra hour or so each week, why not ‘donate’ it and spend it volunteering.
If you want to get involved with charities, but don’t know any specific charities, why not think about causes you are passionate about and then search for charities that link to the causes. There are so many charities out there, there really is something for everyone. If you are interested in finding events in your local area, the Eventbrite app is really useful, and you can also use this page to get involved.
Giving up some of your time to help others is one of the most rewarding experiences, and you meet so many amazing people through it. So why not – there’s nothing to lose, everything to gain!
If you have any ideas of how to get involved with charitable causes, or ideas of how you can just give of yourself to others, please leave a comment below and we can get some ideas bouncing around!
Until next time,
** The idea for this post came from Eventbrite, however all opinions are my own **