I have just completed the 7 month of my year of giving project and I can’t believe how quick the year is going. My baby has just finished his first year in Reception and my eldest has just left year 3 and we are currently enjoying some down time over the holidays.
So far my year of giving project has taught me a number of things
1.) It is possible to give back without spending money
2.) You have lots of opportunities close to home if you just look out for them
3.) Giving back can become a part of your routine quickly and easily if you let it
4.) If feels good to help others and it feels even better to be told you inspired someone else to help too
This month I have done 3 main acts of giving.
Donated old toys to the nursery at school
Just before the school broke for summer I had a quick clear out and took some old fancy dress outfits, some cars, and some trains, to the Nursery at my sons school. The staff told me last time I donated items to them that at the end of each year they have to get rid of all broken toys but don’t always have enough budget to replace everything and the gratitude she showed me for the items I was able to pass on really made me want to help again if I could. Knowing that so many children will get to play with these toys makes it worth the trip to the nursery, plus it beats a trip to the tip which is where they would have ended up eventually anyway.
If you are having a clear out it is worth seeing if you can donate old toys to your local nursery, pre school, mother and baby class or even the children’s ward at the hospital.
Donated the boys old uniforms to the swap shop in our town center
This month I was inspired by a friend who shared on facebook that she was going to donate her sons old uniforms to the share shop in our local city and that she would happily take other peoples items in too, so I bagged up some old t-shirts, shorts and school pants and asked her to donate them alongside her own items for me. The idea is that these items will be sold for £2 to those in the area that are unable to afford to buy brand new uniforms for their children. The very thought of this being needed close to where I live is incredibly sad and so I donated what I could knowing that I would have normally thrown these items away without a second thought. Hopefully they will make a little child feel more able to fit in at school in September in the correct clothing and may also erase some of the parental guilt that no doubt any struggling parent in that situation will be facing.
Having done this I have also started to look more into the share shop and what else they do and i am planning on featuring them in my year of giving again soon.
This month I not only gave blood but I took my boys with me too. I was a little nervous taking them with me in case they started arguing and fighting, it’s not as if I could get up and separate them mid donation is it! However I needn’t have worried they were both so well behaved, although I’m sure the offer of food from the staff certainly helped.
My eldest didn’t really like watching and went a rather pale shade of grey as he saw the blood draining from my arm and vowed that they will never take his, which was kind of the opposite effect I was hoping for. However the tiddler was fascinated and full of questions and even held the bag for the nurse once it was full. I am hoping that by taking them with me and talking to them about my appointments I can normalise the process for them enough for them to decide to donate when they are old enough.
This donation was my 5th and a couple of weeks after donating I received a lovely letter and new donor card from Give Blood NHS in the post thanking me for continuing to donate and acknowledging the dedication it takes. It’s these letters and the texts that tell you when and where your blood has been used that makes me, and I assume others, want to continue to support them as a charity.
Following my donation I also received a message from a friend telling me that my post had reminded her to book her next appointment and better yet that following her appointment and instagram post she was contacted by someone saying they were inspired to give blood too, which just shows the amazing ripple effect of sharing your experiences with others.
One more donation is potentially one more life saved and that is the most fantastic feeling in the world.
How have you given back this month? I would love some new ideas for the remainder of my year of giving if you have any.