My Volunteering Experience

For Christmas 2014, I decided to spend three days giving back to others, alongside many other amazing people. On the 23rd December, I joined 400 other volunteers to create food hampers for those in need all across London. After not making it to Basket Brigade in 2013, I was determined to do it this time round.

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It was a crazy, fun-filled day, which I spent hefting sacks of potatoes and carrots, picking up litter and mucking in wherever needed. We had some great entertainment throughout the day, as volunteers took to the stage to sing, dance and beat-box! There was a great DJ and spirits were high, even when there was a shortage of parsnips and puddings. Ketan made an awesome video of the day you can watch here. (See if you can spot me at the point where it says the arrival of the Christmas Angels!)

I joined two lovely volunteers, Faisal and John, to distribute five of the baskets. A couple we had to leave on the front door step, but when people were there to receive it, there were questions and confusion, but we had been instructed to simply point them to the note enclosed and insist we were just the delivery people. One of the recipients was a very elderly lady, and because she was unsteady on her feet, I carried the heavy basket inside for her, and then she directed me to the kitchen to put the chicken in the freezer, which was so small it needed a little rearranging to fit!

Once they were all delivered, we found a pub and had dinner, and celebrated Christmas, new friendships and playing our part in helping others.

Then on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I volunteered from 10am to 7pm at one of the Crisis for Christmas centres. I was there primarily as an Arts and Crafts Volunteer, but pitched in to help with whatever needed doing, and did my best to make the guests that I interacted with have a good Christmas. I made cards, put sparkles in hair, played scrabble and on Christmas Day was in charge of the cinema. Despite the moaning, Mamma Mia went down very well! (Not my choice, by the way, though I do love the location where it is filmed!)

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Got beaten at Scrabble!

I walked to and from the centre on Christmas Day, (no public transport) and though I was surprised at how many cars were on the road, I had a lot of fun greeting strangers passing by with a cheery ‘good morning!’ and ‘merry christmas!’ It seems that it’s acceptable to do so in London only on very special occasions!

I set up a sponsorship page so that my friends and family could sponsor me to volunteer, and I was blown away by the response. The total stands at £307.62, and is still open for donations at the moment. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored, it really is amazing.

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Rocking the paper chain crown!

Christmas 2014 is the first ever Christmas I have had away from family and friends, and in London, and I have to say, the experience was so very worth it. Seeing the guests being transformed by haircuts and conversations, and having time to relax in a safe place was amazing. I did my best to direct any homeless people I met on the street to the Crisis centres, so they could get some food and somewhere warm to be over the holiday.

So if you have ever thought about volunteering, all I can say is – do it. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, and it might just change someone’s life for the better. (And it will definitely change yours)

 

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The Basket Brigade and Crisis at Christmas

Just wanted to write a post to tell everyone about my Christmas plans! For many years now, I have wanted to volunteer over Christmas, and do a little something to make a difference. Last year, I wanted to take part in the Basket Brigade in London, and wasn’t able to, so I decided that I definitely would this year. And I figured that while I was in London, it would be a great idea to also volunteer for Crisis, as the homeless situation in this country has very much been in the forefront of my thoughts over the last few months.

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The Basket Brigade takes place on the 23rd of December, and on that day, hundreds of volunteers will gather to pack food into basket hampers, and then deliver them to people in need all over London. You can find out more about it and see videos and pictures here, and please, if you are in London, do consider joining us for the day! It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I cannot wait!

crisis

Crisis is a charity that provides shelter, hot food and entertainment for homeless people all over London, and I will be volunteering for them on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Over the past few months in Brighton, and any time I have spent time in London, seeing people sleeping on the streets has been something that has bothered me a lot. I have done a little to help, providing food and drink when I can, but it wasn’t until a friend of mine found himself homeless that it really did hit home that really – becoming homeless could happen to anyone at anytime. And I know, that if it weren’t for my amazing family and friends, and the help of credit cards, I could easily have ended up in the same situation.

And so, though I haven’t got the spare money to donate this Christmas, I am donating my time, hugs, smiles and creativity to try and make someone’s Christmas. I have set up a fundraising page, so if you would like to sponsor me, then you are most welcome. So far, I have had two very generous donations that will ensure that two people get a Christmas at Crisis.

There have been so many amazing videos and articles that have gone viral on the internet, showing people doing acts of kindness for the homeless, and in my updates on the fundraising, I will share videos that have touched me the most. I will start with this one, because I think it beautifully illustrates what I have said about it happening to any of us.

[youtube http://youtu.be/THxtcWNw3QA]

Thank you so much for reading this, I hope you have an awesome Christmas! xx