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Dublin: 1 °C Monday 19 March, 2018

Here are some things that you can do if you're feeling charitable in the run up to Christmas

There are plenty of good causes to choose from.

1. You probably hear it all the time, but it genuinely is as easy as sending a text.

shutterstock_672682030 Source: Shutterstock/fongbeerredhot

You can donate €4 to Focus Ireland this very second by simply taking out your phone and texting HOME to 50300. It doesn’t get easier than that, and in 2017 with free texts and unlimited internet, there’s very little need for the credit you’re hoarding on your phone.

Alternatively, you could donate €4 to the Cork Simon Community by texting CorkSimon to 50300.

 2. If you’re interested in taking it a step further than that, you could make a one-off donation (or a regular monthly donation) to the various charities for people who struggle around Christmas in Ireland.

Homeless in Ireland Source: PA Wire/PA Images

If you could manage to spare €15 every month for the next year, it would work out as €180 which could make a big difference to an individual who has found themselves homeless.

3. If you’d like to get hands-on with some charity work here are some groups you can contact:

If you don’t have any money to spare, maybe you have some free time.

Homeless march Source: PA Archive/PA Images

  • Inner City Helping Homeless A 100% volunteer run initiative in Dublin that operates seven days a week, offering a service that provides access to beds, sleeping bags, food or case management referral. They respond to rough sleeper reports within 15 minutes of a call, 16 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Dublin Simon Community - In January the Dublin Simon Community will be recruiting for a various range of roles. From part time Soup Run volunteers to full time staff, they’ve got something for people with all skill sets.
  • Cork Simon Community - Similarly, the Cork Simon Community are looking for part time volunteers to work in every area from emergency shelter to visiting people in houses and flats and helping people learn life skills like cooking, literacy and numeracy.
  • Mid West Simon Community Like the other branches of the Simon Community, the Mid West Simon Community (which serves Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary) are looking for drivers, food bank volunteers and many other types of volunteers.
  • Irish Housing Network – A grassroots activism group with many different branches from housing and homeless groups to anti-racism and anti-austerity groups. Their aim is to build a strong housing rights movement in Ireland and bring an end to the housing crisis.

4. Keep in mind that there is also an increase in domestic abuse over the festive period.

Donating towards these charities can help more people access helplines and support.

Or you could make a New Year’s resolution to help any of the above charities by training yourself to participate in a marathon in 2018.

5. You can donate toys to sick children in Temple Street.

Temple_Street_Childrens_Hospital870 Source: UCD

They’re appealing for a wide range of toys for children of all ages, if you have anything to spare for another Christmas present. They can’t accept used or homemade toys, as part of their policy on infection control.

  • Newborns and Toddlers are in need of: Baby blankets, sensory toys, mobiles, soft toys, rattles, books, percussion instruments, microwave lavender soft toys, DVDs, VTech interactive games, Fisher Price and Laugh and Learn toys, Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol toys (among others).
  • 3-5 year old kids at Temple Street have these items on their wishlists: Little People Superheroes, Disney Princess toys, Doc McStuffins toys, toy farm animals, Thomas the Tank Engine, Playdoh, Lego and baby dolls.
  • 5-8 year old children would appreciate: Leap Frog or VTech toys, toy cash registers (and toy shop supplies), dress-up clothes, kitchen toys, Disney soft toys, arts & crafts sets, as well as superhero figures.
  • Kids aged 8-12 and teenagers include these items on their wishlists: Sports jerseys, DVD players, iPods, iPads, board games like Monopolgy, Scrabble, The Chase, The Logo Game, Catchphrase, makeup and headphones.

Charities like Barnardos, Oxfam and Age Action also accept any unwanted Christmas presents you end up with. In previous years, Bernadette Harrington of Barnardos has appealed to the public to donate any gifts they know they won’t use:

Rather than smile and secretly hide them in the back of the wardrobe, why not give them to a worthwhile cause and bring a smile to a child’s face in the New Year.

6. You can also buy a ‘Gift for Good’ for Barnardos

They have gifts you can buy for charity, on behalf of a family member or friend as an alternative to a gift. From €18 to €50, these gifts include food vouchers, sets of pyjamas, socks and slippers, duvets and pillows, and bags of toiletries.

For many of us, the thought of doing without something as simple as toiletries is impossible to comprehend. Yet, for many of the 211,000 Irish children living in consistent poverty, it’s an everyday reality.

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