Charities have in some respects become our social conscience, as Christmas approaches and one year passes into another, their appeals cause us to reflect on how we can make a difference largely through giving money to their particular cause. The competition for our money is huge and our giving is often prompted graphic imagery of hopelessness beamed directly into our living rooms, designed to illicit an emotive response from us which translates into a desire to ‘do our bit’. But why is there is so much need? Surely as a nation we should be able to address the inequalities in our society by addressing poverty once and for all; homelessness should not exist, no child should live in deprivation, food banks, although valiantly addressing the need, only deal with the symptom not the cause. The cause or causes should be addressed by all of us through our ability to influence how local authorities or national government is held to account. We are staring at humanitarian crises on a daily basis in our own country which we must be able to solve, leaving us able to focus on how we might then address the humanitarian needs in the wider world.
Charity is not just about giving money… it is about the way you think, it is the genuine compassion you feel for others, it is about unconditional love, it is the desire to make a difference to the lives of others selflessly, it is personification of kindness and caring. Charity is about giving of yourself, your time, your skills and experience, your hope and your faith in humanity. It is giving hope to others to help them cope, it is removing that feeling of helplessness which so many feel when they can see no future. Charity provides for the future, through its words and actions it inspires future generations to see the part it plays in all our lives.
Whilst I urge you to support charities this Christmas, in whatever way you can, please do not make it just an annual event, for the need continues all year. Many small charities are struggling to generate enough money to continue their work as the limited funding finds its way to projects which can really only be sustained by the larger organisations. It is so sad to see these local charities, which have done such amazing work with dedicated volunteers, having to stop because they cannot attract the financial support that the large media campaigns generate.