As the weather gets colder and we tuck into comforting food, enjoy cosy evenings and begin shopping for Christmas presents for our loved ones, it’s important to recognise how fortunate many of us are. There are many people in need locally, whose situations have been further affected by the pandemic and they continue to struggle for food, shelter, clothing, access to technology for education, and much more.
There are a range of ways that you can help those who may struggle this winter, including donating to local charities and organisations, who work to reach those in need.
Fill a shoebox full of items that might be useful for those who are homeless, e.g. toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, scarves, hats and non-perishable foods, then drop off your box at Wimbledon Station ticket hall. From 6th – 11th December, South Western Railway staff are running their annual Shoebox Appeal in Wimbledon Station, collecting donations to support Merton Faith in Action (FiA). The Merton FiA operate a weekly homeless drop-in centre to support vulnerable people in our community, which includes providing a two-course hot meal, shower facilities, clothes and advice.
The Entertainer store in Wimbledon, are also acting as drop off points for the Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child shoebox appeal, between 15th – 22nd November, where boxes are shipped to children outside the UK who are affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease. Watch the video to find out more here.
Got toys taking up space in your house, that the children are bored of? The Entertainer are also accepting donations of plastic children’s toys (must be in good condition) which will be rehomed via The Salvation Army, to underprivileged children living in poverty, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to play this Christmas. The scheme runs all year-round and aims to reduce plastic waste by prolonging the life of toys, and avoiding them going to landfill. Note: Soft toys and toys without a valid CE mark present will not be accepted. Morrisons Wimbledon has also set up a Toy Donation Station at the front of the store, aimed at receiving toys for 0-14-year-olds which will be donated via Dons Local Action Group. The Community Giving Christmas Tree, beside the toy donation point, is another great way to donate. Simply pick off a bauble, worth £1/£2/£5, and scan it through the checkouts to donate to Merton Faith in Action.
Furniture, Food and Technology
Dons Local Action Group welcomes donations of laptops for young people who do not have access to the internet via a computer at home, as well as furniture and food items. Originally formed by fans of AFC Wimbledon during the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity continues to collect food and essential items outside Morrisons Wimbledon, to deliver to those in need in the local community.
Wimbledon Foodbank provides three days of nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis. They are encouraging the local community to purchase a supermarket gift card for £10/£20, which will allow a family to buy the essentials for a Christmas dinner. Alternatively, you can donate non-perishable, in-date foods to the food donation point located in Waitrose (Alexandra Road, Wimbledon), at the front of the store beside the cash machine. Opening hours are: 8am – 9pm weekdays, 8am – 8pm Saturdays and 11am – 5pm on Sundays. Check out their weekly update of the urgent items that are needed here and read more ideas about how you can help struggling families this Christmas here.
Remember you can also contribute to the above organisations by donating money or offering your time. Other local organisations that could benefit from monetary donations or volunteering assistance include:
- Merton Street Pastors: a group of volunteers from local churches in Merton, who conduct late night patrols of the streets of Wimbledon to look for and help rough sleepers.
- Merton’s Winter Night Shelter offers warmth, food and a place to sleep for up to 5 local rough sleepers over the coldest months of December, January and February. Volunteers here also help to provide move-on opportunities for guests.
- Wimbledon Guild are asking people to donate £10, or whatever they can afford, to their Christmas Appeal to help spread Christmas joy to people with no one else to turn to. Help give local families the support they need – from heating their homes, providing warm clothing/bedding or making sure they have enough to eat. Your support also means that someone on their own can celebrate at one of Wimbledon Guild’s Christmas lunches.