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Here are some easy ways to help charity if you want to start 2019 on a good foot

You can still be charitable once December is over.

AT THE BEGINNING of December, we published a roundup of everything you needed to know if you wanted to volunteer to help charities during the festive period. That’s still here, if you’d like to learn more. 

Christmas might be out of the way, but more many people in Ireland, circumstances don’t look like they’re set to change any time soon. Although volunteering is extremely important in the cold winter months, charity doesn’t have to be confined to the month of December. Volunteering isn’t a realistic option for everyone – lots of people have disabilities, long working hours or children to look after, which makes it hard to get out on the streets and do their bit. So, here are some ways you can help out if volunteering isn’t a realistic option for you. 

1. Send a text. 

PastedImage-95635 Source: Shutterstock / fongbeerredhot Source: Shutterstock / fongbeerredhot / fongbeerredhot

You’re probably on your phone now, aren’t you? See. It couldn’t be easier than that. Chances are, you’ve got a stockpile of phone credit built up as it’s harder to use these days with unlimited free internet, texts and calls on most networks. Here are some charities you can help out via text message:

  • Focus Ireland: Text ‘HOME’ to 50300 to donate €4 to Focus Ireland. 
  • Cork Simon Community: Text ‘CorkSimon’ to 50300 to donate €4 to the Cork Simon Community. 
  • Pieta House: Text ‘PIETA’ to 50300 to donate €2. Alternatively, you can sign up for a subscription to donate €2 per week to Pieta House by texting ‘SUPPORT’ to 50300. 
  • The Irish Hospice Foundation: Text ‘IHF’ to 50300 to donate €4. 
  • Women’s Aid: Text ‘ACTION’ to 50300 to donate €4.

2. If you’re interested in taking it a step further, you could make a larger one off donation (or regular monthly donation) to the various charities that are helping struggling families in Ireland.

IRELAND-DUBLIN-HOMELESS PEOPLE Xinhua News Agency / PA Images Xinhua News Agency / PA Images / PA Images

If you’re lucky enough to be in a position where you can spare about €15 a month without noticing it missing from your wages (look at it this way – it works out as about three less pints a month, which seems pretty manageable) it’ll add up in the long run. A year of donating €15 per month works out as €180. Stay in the habit for five years and that’s €900 you have donated to charity without any major impact on your life.

Here are some charities that accept monthly donations:

3. You could donate food. 

Ireland: Snow Storm named 'Beast from the East' hits Ireland SIPA USA / PA Images SIPA USA / PA Images / PA Images

Over the last few years, you might have heard of the community group set up in Coolock called A Lending Hand. Every Monday, they head to the Dame Street in Dublin City Centre to serve up meals, tea, coffee and snacks to the city’s homeless population. All of the money and food it takes to keep this service running comes from the volunteer’s pockets and donations of food from the public. 

The demand increased so much over the last few years, that there are families in Coolock and other parts of North Dublin relying on food package deliveries from A Lending Hand to keep their children and themselves fed. Before Christmas, they were accepting shopping trolleys of food which were donated by members of the Travelling Community in Coolock, and because the service is so badly needed, they’re welcoming donations beyond Christmas too. It’s worth checking out if there is a similar operation running in your own area, and if not – maybe you could look into starting one. One of A Lending Hand’s most productive volunteers is just a regular retired Ballyfermot man, who finds time to cook them 50 packages of curry, rice and chips per week. 

4. Remember – during the Christmas period there’s an increase in domestic abuse and violence. 

Services are stretched in the winter time and early in the new year, as more people are trying to access support and helplines. You can make once off or monthly donations to any of these charities, to help them meet the increased demand. 

Or, if you think you’re up to it, you could make a New Year’s resolution to help any of the above charities by participating in a marathon in 2018. 

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