We love a good Christmas tradition and many families have ones that you've heard of and some which are a little bit more unique. Something we find ourselves doing most years is filling shoe boxes, as a family, to send to those in need. Many people have done it since their own childhoods and are now passing on the idea, the tradition, to their own kids. A shoe box isn't much to many people but to a lot of people in this world a it's a beacon of hope, some new things they can call their own and the reason they get through the year. There has been some controversy with the Samaritan's Purse scheme so we're going to look at some Christmas Operation Child Alternatives UK.
Link to Hope Shoe box Appeal
The Link to Hope shoe box appeal has been running since 1992 and they've delivered over 900,000 boxes in Eastern Europe! Link to Hope are a Christian charity but don't put items of scripture or anything in the boxes. Simply distribute love to those in need regardless of background, colour, creed or religion. The scheme asks people to register on their website and then fill a shoe box for a family, not just an individual child like you might be used to.
There is a list which contains gifts for all members of the family, including games, toiletries, gifts for each member of the family. Lots of these families don't have running water, live in one room homes and often have to choose between heating and eating. There is also a rise in the number of elderly people on their own in these places too, so the charity have introduced a box for the older generation too. Supporting this cause is so worthwhile. It's a great way for even businesses to get involved and give back during the festive period. It's perhaps the similar of the Christmas operation child alternatives UK.
Aquabox respond to natural disasters like earthquakes, drought, flooding and typhoons. When you see that a hurricane has ripped through a a nation, Aquabox responds by sending AquaFilters and humanitarian aid. Man made conflict can also result in people needing shelter and essential items. Did you know that one Aquabox family filter turns half a million litres of water into safe drinking water? Since starting in 1992, Aquabox has sent over 110,000 boxes to 50 plus countries around the globe. In times of crisis, they are there to help.
The scheme relies on donations and each Aquabox costs £150. As well as water purification, each box contains items to do with shelter building, cooking and feeding, lighting, educational development and important hygiene. This is the perfect box to fund as a workplace or perhaps as a school. Especially as each box is numbered and linked to the donor, so that you can find out where your box went. It could be great for school projects and to show pupils how their gifts can impact a family in crisis somewhere in the world.
You can help someone escaping domestic abuse this Christmas. Refuge parcels are bundles of essential items that women and children urgently need when escaping the horrific grasp of domestic violence. The charity's parcel scheme includes children's parcels and emergency parcels to help people start to rebuild their lives. They are saving lives and helping survivors of domestic violence start again.
Sponsor A Child
If the shoe box aspect of things isn't important to you and you simply want to make a difference, how about sponsoring a child? Through organisations such as Plan, you can sponsor a child. This is more than a show box. It's a long term commitment to invest in child and their community. Your money will help them lift themselves out of poverty, get an education, advance themselves. You can even keep in touch and get to know them through letters and you'll receive photos of them as they grow. Some schemes even give you opportunities to go out there and meet your sponsored child. Plan child sponsorship benefits children in 50 countries and could be a great way for you to support someone throughout the year, not just at Christmas.
Plant A Tree
Closer to home, the Woodland Trust are trying to plant 50 million trees in the big climate fight back. Trees can help us fight climate change as lock up carbon, fight flooding and cool cities. The idea is to plant 50 million trees over the next five years. Creating woodland right here in the UK is going to benefit us now as well as our future generations.
You can simply donate money to help create woodland or even plant your own tree. This could be done at home as a family, as a school (you might need more than one tree!) or a community or business (you might need even more trees!) It's no big secret that we're trashing our planet. We're using more resources from it than it is able to produce and now is the tipping point where we can make change. Supporting this organisation and fight against climate change could be a great festive thing to do.
What Will You Choose?
Some of these Christmas Operation Child Alternatives UK might be along the lines of why you clicked on this post whilst others might be slightly out the box compared to what you were thinking. It shows that there are different places, charities and schemes that you can support. A shoe box is a wonderful thing but some traditions need to be switched about and mixed up now and again. Imagine watching a tree that you planted grow, knowing it's doing some good in this world. Think about the life you're changing month in month out. A continuous sponsorship, an extra child in your life that might not be sitting round the dinner table but is always in your heart. Consider when you see a disaster on the news, that your box could be on it's way to saving lives. Do some good this Christmas time.