Time is the greatest gift: Volunteering

As the shops begin to fill with things you didn’t know you needed, it can be all too easy to get caught up in a spiral of shopping and spending as Christmas approaches. Sometimes it can feel as though the spirit of the festive season has been lost amongst the wrapping paper and endless queues.

In fact, the best gifts are often those that don’t have a financial cost – a thoughtful touch is always appreciated more than the result of a Christmas Eve panic buy. Spending a couple of hours helping people less fortunate than ourselves is so rewarding, and there are many ways in which you can be a Christmas star. The TimeBank organisation has some great ideas on its website, detailing lots of ways you can give your time and experience in order to make a real difference.

Time is the greatest gift

Pet lovers may want to help an animal charity, and there are certainly plenty of options for those looking to volunteer their time or skills, or simply donate a meal to help an animal in need this Christmas:

  • Keep an eye out in your local supermarket for pet charity stands or collecting bins for food and toys. It’s easy to pop a couple of extra tins in your trolley and donate them on your way out.
  • Contact your local shelter and offer an hour or two to help walk the dogs or socialise with the cats. There are countless local organisations you can try, and they will all be grateful for any help you can give. Many of the larger charities have volunteer pages on their websites where you can find details of ways to help near you (try the Blue Cross and PDSA)
  • Volunteer with your pet to visit the elderly, lonely and house bound. Any dog or cat can become a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog or a PAT cat, as long as he or she has lived with you for at least six months, is over nine months old and passes a short assessment.
  • Fostering pets displaced when families flee domestic violence is a meaningful and practical way to provide help. The RSPCA’s PetRetreat scheme has supported over 1200 pets, belonging to 800 families who have been victims of domestic abuse. Find out more at the RSPCA website.
  • Offer to walk your elderly neighbour’s dog or drive them to the vets or the pet shop when needed
  • Why not clear out some clutter and have a table top sale or car boot, with all the profits going to a local pet charity?
  • If you are good at crafts or baking, perhaps you could make and sell Christmas cards or mince pies to raise money for a charity close to your heart
  • You could even organise a sponsored event or hold a collection at a community carol service

Of course, these are just a few of the ways in which you can volunteer, and no doubt you can think of several local causes that would benefit greatly from your support. So if you’d like this to really be a Christmas to remember, why not spread a little extra love in the direction of those in need – there are few better feelings than the warm glow of a generous gesture of support!

Until next time, very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.

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