Check out our annual guide on where you can donate food, money or time over the festive season to spread some goodwill, benefit people experiencing hardship and do something good for yourself as well.
Christmas is a tricky time of year, we reach the longest nights, the temperature drops and there is very little opportunity to soak up beneficial sunshine. Midwinter celebrations are intended to cheer people up with entertainment, giving and feasting. Nowadays unfortunately the expectation of giving presents to friends and family (not to mention the cost of food and heating) can put a massive strain on finances, any lack of company can increase feelings of loneliness and isolation and people out on the streets are subject to the harshest conditions.
If you would like to find out how you can make a difference this Christmas, take a look at the good causes below that you can help.
Donate to a Food Bank to help people in poverty
Food banks need donations of food and money all year round. Look at our directory to find one near you. Currently these items are the most desired:
- Tinned fish and meat
- Coffee, tea and sugar
- Toiletries and cleaning products
- Microwaveable food & ready meals
- Long-life drinks
- International food items
- Ambient food (tinned, dry goods)
Brighton Voices in Exile who support refugees and asylum seekers with a weekly food bank have a list of requests below. Also, Brighton Food Bank – the central food bank are absolutely inundated with attendees at the moment have asked for the list below.
Mutual Aid Vegan Foodbank – are looking for food and toilet paper/toiletries – you can donate to the Cowley Club or at their foodbank ‘bin’ at Infinity Foods.
Donate to the Big Give Christmas Challenge (3rd -10th December)
FareShare Sussex and Jamie’s Farm Lewes are two great local organisations that have been selected to participate in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, a week-long appeal where your donations are doubled through match funding. Donating via thebiggive.org.uk for seven days from 12pm on 3rd December is the best way to make your gift go the furthest. One donation, twice the impact.
Fareshare Sussex provide food for 122 charities and community groups in Brighton & Hove including food banks, homeless organisations and lunch clubs feeding just under 1000 hungry people in the area! Donate here.
You can also donate in-date store cupboard items to the FareShare warehouse any weekday until Friday 20th December: Unit 3-4 Fairway Business Centre, Westergate Road, Brighton BN2 4JZ.
Since Jamie’s Farm opened their doors to children in March, nearly 200 vulnerable young people have experienced a week on the farm, with their unique intervention of Farming, Family and Therapy. By giving to Jamie’s Farm via the Big Give, you will help them to reach more children at risk of being excluded from school. Check out their website to find out more.
Donate to help children
Fresh Start Brighton are looking for donations of food, gifts, toys and toiletries to give out in hampers for their Christmas Cheer project, which is for families who find themselves in challenging circumstances. Donations can be dropped down to Fresh Start by Friday 6th December, contact Julie to find out opening times.
Donate to help homeless people
Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) are recruiting volunteers for their annual Christmas collections which will be taking place on Saturday 21st December from 11am-2pm at various locations across the city. They’ll be raising money for First Base, BHT’s drop-in service for rough sleepers in the city. No experience needed, volunteers just need to wrap up warm, spare a few hours and spread some festive cheer. There will be local choirs at some of the collection sites and we will be encouraging everyone to get involved with the singing! Find out more.
First Base are also collecting items for the day centre, including hygiene items and underwear, which they are constantly in need of to run the service that they offer to around 70 rough sleepers each day. There is an Amazon wish list of items they are constantly in need of. People can purchase the items through Amazon or purchase elsewhere and drop off to First Base at St Stephens Hall, Montpelier Place, Brighton, BN1 3BF.
Sussex Homeless Support need volunteer help for their regular Sunday meals at the Clocktower (including 22nd and 29th Dec) and also with sorting out food and bedding in their warehouse in Hove. They are also fundraising to support homeless people with food and shelter in Winter.
Donate to a local community project
Lots of great community projects in Sussex are crowdfunding at the moment. Community pub, the Bevy, are crowdfunding to bring their tasty community meals to people who are housebound or isolated. The Real Junk Food Project Brighton are raising funds to open a high profile, pay-what-you-feel cafe site in the North Laine, reducing food waste and providing affordable food. Community Kitchen regular, Lerato Umah-Shaylor, is crowdfunding to create a new community cookery school in Eastbourne. The Network of International Women are crowdfunding to help fund their community cooking sessions.
Donate to plant trees or increase local food
Offset your carbon footprint and donate to help plant over 30,000 trees around the South Downs. You can also volunteer to help plant them with the Tree Council.
Hungry over Christmas?
Check out our page here for emergency food opening times and information about Christmas day meals.
If you are in need of emergency help with food, energy bills or essentials the Local Discretionary Social Fund will be open every day apart from the bank holidays. The telephone line 01273 293117 will be available from 10am to 4.30pm as normal.
Check out our advice if you are struggling to afford food.