Christmas is a time of peace and happiness for many of us, but sadly that's not the case for everyone. This year many Londoners will be struggling with issues like homelessness, hunger, or loneliness. If you feel that Christmas is a time for kindness and charity as much as for celebration, you might be keen to find out about the ways you can help Londoners who are less fortunate. You can always donate money, but if you'd rather give your time, we've put together this guide to charity at Christmas in London.
Guide to charity at Christmas in London
In this guide
Charity in London this Christmas
- Crisis – Help homeless Londoners this Christmas
- Basket Brigade UK – Getting food to where it's needed
- Fundraising for St Mungo's – Raising money to tackle homelessness
- Rotary Christmas Day – Host a huge Christmas party
- Jacksons Lane – Give back to the community
- Operation Christmas Child – Supporting children worldwide
- The Trussell Trust – Help make sure no one goes hungry
- Hackney Night Shelter – Support homeless people in Hackney
- The Food Chain – Support service users on Christmas Day
- Whitechapel Mission – Help a charity and strengthen your team
Charity in London this Christmas
Help homeless Londoners this Christmas
Crisis is the largest homelessness charity in the country and volunteers are needed at Christmas. Over the Christmas period you can volunteer at a Crisis centre in Stratford, Pimlico, or Bermondsey, providing companionship, advice, activities, and catering for homeless users of the centres. This might include serving a Christmas dinner to centre users on 25th December to ensure that no one misses out this year.
Getting food to where it's needed
Basket Brigade UK brings together hundreds of volunteers on 23rd December each year. Volunteers get together on the day to create over 1,000 food baskets that they then deliver to Londoners who need help the most. You can sign up to take on a number of different roles, from packing or delivering the baskets to working as part of the event crew and helping the whole thing to run smoothly.
Raising money to tackle homelessness
St Mungo's is a charity that helps people in London and the South East move on from homelessness. The charity offers a range of services including outreach, accommodation, skills and employment opportunities, and health services. Collection volunteers are needed for fundraising at major London train stations this year. A number of two-hour shifts at various locations are available.
Host a huge Christmas party
Every year the Rotary Club holds a big Christmas Day party in Wandsworth for elderly people. It's a major event and needs a big team of volunteers to ensure everyone has a great day. Volunteer duties include setting up and clearing up at the venue, escorting party guests from their homes to the venue, helping in the kitchen, serving, doing the washing up, and helping guests enjoy the afternoon entertainment. You get a full Christmas dinner thrown in too!
Give back to the community
Jacksons Lane in Highgate is a vibrant community theatre that has been laying on a Christmas party for older locals for 45 years. Volunteer to help run the event on Christmas Day – hundreds of Christmas hampers get delivered plus guests come for Christmas dinner. Volunteers help to provide food and drinks, gifts, and great company.
Supporting children worldwide
Christian charity Samaritan's Purse runs an annual shoebox appeal, Operation Christmas Child. All volunteers need to do is fill a shoebox with gifts for a child and then drop off the box at a dedicated location near you. Boxes are sent to children who are in need all over the world. Since 1993, millions of children in 160 different countries have benefited from this festive initiative.
Help make sure no one goes hungry
The Trussell Trust runs a network of over 1,000 food banks all over the UK. Volunteers are always needed, especially at Christmas. As well as donating money or giving food at a supermarket or directly to the food bank, you can help at a local food bank by sorting donations and packing food parcels or welcoming service users, directing them to extra support, and helping to tackle loneliness and isolation.
Support homeless people in Hackney
Hackney Night Shelter has been providing shelter and support to homeless people in Hackney since 1996. Its services are especially in-demand during winter and the Christmas period, so it needs volunteers to keep things running. Volunteers work in teams to cook and serve dinner or breakfast to service users, as well as making them feel comfortable, welcome, and supported.
Support service users on Christmas Day
The Food Chain supports Londoners living with HIV and their dependants by offering cooking and nutrition classes, communal meals, and delivering meals and groceries. A balanced diet is important for us all, but especially important for those living with HIV. Volunteers are welcome all year round but volunteer drivers are needed on 25th December to bring service users to the centre in Stepney Green and get them home again. Volunteers also join the Christmas meal and all the fun and entertainment on the day.
Help a charity and strengthen your team
Homelessness charity Whitechapel Mission works all year round to support Londoners who are sleeping rough. At certain times, such as Christmas, the charity receives a particularly large volume of food and toiletries donations; it needs teams of volunteers to sort donations and make sure they're available to service users. These gift-sorting challenges are aimed at teams of 8-20 people. It's an ideal festive volunteering and team-building opportunity for work colleagues.