The lead up to Christmas is an eagerly exciting time for billions of people around the world. For many it involves thinking about gift ideas and shopping for friends and family, the festivities of adverts, music, decorations and sparkles around our homes and every avenue of our towns or cities, connecting with loved ones, lots of consumption of luxury food and much more.
The lead up to Christmas for those in poverty is a much different reality. The uncertainty of where the next meal will come from. Parents not being able to afford warm clothing for their children, as well as keep up with paying for essential utility resources and bills to acclimatise to the early darkness and colder days that the winter season brings. The emotional and mental effects on individuals and families that must face these realities is unbearable. Not just during the lead up to Christmas but all year round.
Image by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash
A report conducted by Crisis.orgnoted that 2.4 million people, including 550,000 children living in more than 1 million households experienced lacking food, clothing, and toiletries during 2019 and the numbers are still at rise. They also found that the rise of adults and children experiencing poverty circumstances had increased more than one-half since 2017. Evidently, the increase of rent arrears during the coronavirus outbreak spiked for many households to the point an eviction freeze was put in place to prevent the devastation of families being evicted from their homes. For many families the effects of this still lingers. Prioritisation of bills and rent payments must come first before considering luxuries like a new jumper for the winter, or blankets to keep warm.
Statistaestimates a forecast of 84.7 million of Christmas sales in the UK this year! This shows how the spend towards gifting is increasingly growing as people flock to high streets and shopping malls to snap up what they find on rails and shelves. Through the glitz of the busy Christmas shopping rush, many of us often forget how the spirit of gifting during the season doesn’t always have to be limited for our immediate social circles, we can also extend giving to communities or those in need who would relish a small token of kindness.
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So What Can We Do to Help?
There are many ways we can get involved and support families in need, especially during a time where even a small donation can go as far as a mother being able to cloth their child with a warm jumper. Firstly, Clothing Collective. During the winter periods families in poverty struggle to have access to warm clothing and the supplies that they need. Understandably, heating and gas bills are prioritised to keep warm as the season shifts, this meaning expenses towards other supplies are almost non exist for families who don’t have the financial resources to afford it. The Clothing Collective is a charity that helps families to manage the effects of poverty by providing vouchers so that families can get clothes.
Clothes are an essential part of life yet can be unaffordable for those who are struggling with everyday bills. It is even more important for families to have access to warm clothing and the supplies that they need. You can make donations to the Clothing Collective here.
Secondly there are other hassle-free ways to support those who are in need when you are out or online shopping for others this Christmas, why not consider Pledgjar rounding up small spare change when making purchases to donate to a charity. Pledgjar have recently partnered with the Charities Aid Foundation who support many food banks supplies such as Greggs Foundation who provide hardship payments and emergency food parcels for those in hardship and poverty.
Together we can help cloth, feed and support families in need.