Future Voices: They say Christmas is a time for giving

The Open Christmas Dinner at St Andrews Hall could not happen without dozens of volunteers. Picture

The Open Christmas Dinner at St Andrews Hall could not happen without dozens of volunteers. Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Christmas, a time for rejoice, celebration and plenty of festivities. Children's Christmas lists falling all the way to the floor, hoping that they have been a good girl or boy for Santa.

However some children have been impeccably behaved throughout the year, but they won't be getting everything on their Christmas list. Chances are that they don't even have a list on Christmas day, just the hope that they will have something to eat. Forget about you turkey, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes; just a warm bowl of something will be all they want this Christmas.

According to Oxfam, one in five people in the UK currently live below the poverty line - unable to afford the basics needed to survive – finding each day a new challenge to get by. Not only will people be going without this Christmas, but many people will not even have a roof over their heads to shelter them from the elements, with 112,330 applying to the local authorities for homeless assistance in 2014/2015, a 26% increase from five years ago, according to Crisis.

Instead of being shocked by this statistics, should think what you can do?

At Christmas time there are plenty of things to do to help people in need. Following in the footsteps of France's major supermarkets, Morrisons is the first UK supermarket to donate its surplus products to people in need, rather than dumping it on the ever-growing landfill mounds.

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Food banks can also be found across the UK, where you can donate any food that is still in date that has been sitting in your kitchen for a year or so, and is not going to be used. This is not only a great way to clear the shelves, but it is also giving it to people that would do anything just to have that one can of soup.

Volunteering on Christmas day to serve the homeless a meal is a very popular choice. If you don't mind waiting just a little longer for your turkey, you can contact your local council or charities such as Crisis, to see how you can get involved.

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After slaving away for hours in the kitchen, when you sit down to tuck into your Christmas day lunch please just spare a thought for those who are not as fortunate to experience such fine cuisine on a cold winters day.

Christmas is a very expensive time, but maybe if you just had one less socking filler and donated a little money to a charity over Christmas, it can make the world of a difference. They say that Christmas is a time for giving...

Laura Wright, 16

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