Tuesday 5th September is the International Day of Charity – a day to recognise and celebrate charities and the wonderful people that spend their time doing their bit to make the world a better place.
The reason this date was chosen is because it’s the anniversary of the death of Mother Therese of Calcutta, who dedicated her life to charity work.
It can be hard to find time in our busy schedules to make time for volunteering or helping out, but every bit helps, and there are a number of things you can do to make a difference.
Spring clean and contribute
September is the first month of Spring, and what better time to have a good clean out of cupboards, rooms, and garages. If you’ve got things you no longer want or need – like clothing, accessories, furniture, kitchenware, toys or appliances, why not donate them to your local Red Cross, Salvation Army or SPCA store where they can be sold on and have a new life elsewhere. You’ll be reducing waste as well as helping charities raise money. Please only donate items deemed worthwhile to on-sell, and if you’re not sure, get in touch with your chosen store and they’ll be happy to guide you and answer questions.
Give the good stuff
Charity donations are always gratefully received, but there are a number of ‘everyday items’ which are in “high-demand” and unfortunately are not donated in as much quantity as foodstuffs or similar. These include:
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Female sanitary items
- Male/female razors and razor blades
- Soap and shampoo
- Diapers and baby formula
- Undergarments and thermals
- Towels and blankets
Another constantly needed donation is blood – NZ Blood Service drives are constantly running around the country to collect blood and plasma. It's a quick, easy process and you'll be helping to save lives.
Get out and about
After something a bit more physical? Try these:
- Join your local neighbourhood patrol – for just few hours a week you’ll be helping to make your community safer.
- Collect on the street for your favourite charity – do some research about the next street appeals coming up and apply to collect. Many are flexible about hours and locations. All you have to do is smile!
- Join the food bank appeal – dates vary by community, and runners, drivers and packers are always needed to collect and sort the donated items.
Get creative and kind
If crafts are more your thing, try your hand at making wool hats, blankets or clothing for your local shelter or maternity ward. Particularly for babies, wool is best because it’s warm, yet breathable. Or, as September 1st is New Zealand Random Act of Kindness Day, it could be as simple as pre-paying for the coffee of the person behind you or sharing your umbrella with a stranger if it’s raining.
We recently shared how staff from AMI New Plymouth and Hawera joined the Red Cross to pack and deliver over 200 winter care packages to those in need around Taranaki. If we all chip in a bit, we can make our world happier and safer together.