Charities are all around us, from the adverts on TV to the volunteers that used to stand outside the shops. They are asking us to support a worthy cause, and these days there is so much need for this. There are so many these days, how do you know which ones to support? I’ve come across three charities through friends that I think are just wonderful and so inspirational.
Get inspired with these unique charity ideas
Tools With A Mission
You may have come across an article I’ve written called How To Stay Positive and Be Happy. This article was inspired by Bruce and Mavis in Laleham, Surrey, and how their quaint little cottage (and their lives) inspire people walking past to smile and be that little bit happier than they were before.
Mavis told me how she, her sister and their friends would often get together and knit blankets and hats for children who need them. They would gift these knitted presents to their local church to distribute them on.
The church also collects old tools which are sent on to a charity called Tools With A Mission. They are then refurbished, packed up and sent off to countries in Africa where young adults are learning different trades. These students need the tools to complete their training or maybe even start their own businesses. It makes my heart so happy to think about it all.
A dear friend introduced me to the charity called Street Sleepers in Cape Town. Sue-Ann messaged all her friends one year and said: “Instead of getting me a present for my birthday, please buy a homeless person a sleeping bag so they can stay warm and dry at night” (Cape Town has icy cold Winters with heavy rains). It was one of the most selfless acts I’d seen and heard of in a long time. I went onto the Street Sleepers website and was so impressed by what I found.
They employ homeless people to make these really strong, waterproof sleeping bags. The sleeping bags are big enough to store their belongings in one section, and then there’s a another smaller section where they store their jumpers which doubles up as a pillow when they sleep; and then they sleep in the main section of the sleeping bag.
During the day, it folds up neatly to be carried as a backpack. Pure genius! Well done Oliver and Sarah for not only creating jobs but helping homeless people all over Cape Town to stay warm at night. A truly inspiring initiative!
One to One
The third charity I would like to highlight doesn’t have a name as such. Its more something that anyone can do at anytime. I try and put into practice as often as I can. A dear friend in London inspired me to do this on my own going forward. I have social anxiety , and sometimes it stops me from doing things I really want to do. She gave me the courage to be brave and help others, in the most simplest but most effective ways.
A few years back we went out exploring London and I owed her a few pounds from the day’s adventure. She said rather than giving it back to her, give it to the next homeless person we come across. As we exited the underground station, I noticed there was a homeless man sitting on the ground opposite the station entrance.
We walked past him and I stopped and I asked her to wait there for me. I went back to the man and knelt down beside him and had a conversation with him. I was so nervous and uncomfortable that my hands were sweating and I had to grip my knees with both hands to stop them from shaking, but I carried on.
I asked him what his name was, how he’d been sleeping at night, if he was finding somewhere warm and dry to go at night. We chatted for a bit and then I gave him the money. I told him he should buy some food or a hot drink to keep him warm and keep his energy levels up.
He was so surprised but so happy, he clambered to his feet to give me a hug. It was one of the best feelings I have ever experienced, seeing his joy. He had so much gratitude and appreciation, it was a small act for me but for him it meant so much. Before leaving I said he should take care, he said he will do what he can.
What I take from this
These days I generally don’t offer money. Instead, I’ll give someone a pair of gloves if Winter is on the way, or I’ll buy them a sandwich and a coffee and have a chat with them. I once met a man outside a cafe, I offered to buy him a take away lunch but the cafe was quite full of people. My social anxiety came flooding back and I froze. I had already offered to buy him lunch so I asked him to come into the cafe with me.
So there we were: me feeling nervous because of all the people around us and him feeling nervous because of this strange situation he found himself in, choosing and ordering a sandwich and drink of his choice. To the amusement of the staff and other patrons, we then sat down and started discussing cricket and other sports while we waited for the staff to finish preparing his order.
After collecting his order from the counter we left the cafe and once outside I said thanks for the lovely conversation and he said thanks for lunch and we parted ways, both of us feeling a lot happier than we had before.
You may have heard of the saying: ‘What goes around comes around? Well, this is especially true when Karma is factored in. I was told a while back that its a really good idea to donate a percentage of your salary each month to charity. At first I was a little sceptical and didn’t think much of the idea, but it kept coming back to me in various ways. So I started doing this where ever I could.
On Paypal they have an option to add one pound to your payment or to round your payment up to the next pound and then the difference goes to a different charity each time.
Another way is finding a charity that inspires you and getting a direct debit set up for a monthly amount to be sent to them. I started practicing these a few months back and good Karma has come back to me in more ways than I can begin to explain. This option comes highly recommended and is so easy to start.
This article has been inspired by ordinary people doing extraordinary things for others. It makes me feel really good to hear of these amazing ideas being put into practice and action being taken. This article is a reflection of how giving your time or your money can have a positive impact on others and sometimes be life-changing for them.
I hope this has inspired you to find local charities that you can support. What unique charities have you come across lately that have inspired you? I’d love to hear from you, please feel free to leave your comments below.
Much love and hugs,