Spend less. Be Happy.

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Last year, I wrote this:

This year, I'm making an effort to give more than I receive, to make more than I buy, and to recycle more than I throw away. It isn't just a gift for now, this year, but a gift to our children, and their future.

This year, T is spending Christmas with her Dad, so we will be child free here. I decided to take the opportunity to do a big chunk of volunteering, including Christmas Day itself.

I started by calling as many people as I could find. It was amazing ... organisations either aren't doing anything for Christmas, didn't know what needed to be done or who to contact, or just couldn't think of something I might be able to help with. Or, worse, they'd be uncertain. They would promise to call back (sometimes multiple times), and then just never would. Anyone would think that we didn't have homeless or hungry or unfortunate in Canberra.

There was one thing that made me happy though. While looking for something, I put a message on Twitter asking if anybody knew of organisations looking for help. I didn't get any organisations popping up asking for volunteers, but I did get four or five people all say, "I don't know of anything, but if you find something let me know, and I'll come too." The upshot is that now I have a small band of Christmas Elves willing to spread cheer and goodwill, and nowhere to send them to do so.

Thankfully, we have found one place that needs our help, Communities@Work have asked us to help with hamper packing in the week before Christmas, which is bound to be a whole lot of fun. But at the moment, it seems I'll be hanging around at home twiddling my thumbs on Christmas Day. Because I absolutely refuse to give in to the consumerist version of Christmas, and I'm agnostic and won't be partaking in the religious model of the day, I guess I'll get some housework done.

If you know of anyone who does need some volunteer help (in Canberra preferably, but I'll consider Sydney too), send me an email won't you?


zuzu said...

Love to you Lana. Generous big hearts are needed in this town. xx

Loquacity said...

Generous hearts are needed in every town, I think. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone just gave a little more, and took a little less, and we didn't have to rely on a few big hearts to get the job done, though?

Thanks for your comment, zuzu. Love to you too :)


Emma Davidson said...

Two more places you could try:
Ainslie Village is a men's shelter near the city. They will have people staying there on Christmas Day, and might appreciate someone coming in to help cook lunch or whatever. There's often men sleeping rough in the drains behind Ainslie Village if they can't get a bed for the night.

There's also a Hare Krishna ashram on the corner of Limestone and whatever is the road that goes up to Ainslie Village. They often cook and serve food on the footpath near the CSIRO grassy space on the road up to Ainslie Village. If they're serving food on that day, they might also appreciate help.

Loquacity said...

I believe Ainslie Village is run by Samaritan House, and I did try to contact them a while ago, without much luck. It might be worth trying them again, though.

I have a few places that I might just try and drop in on yet, I'll add the Hare Krishna place to my list.



Anonymous said...

Hi Lana,

i commend you on your actions and applaud your efforts. May I ask why you are preferring not to support organisations with a religious background?

I call myself a christain, not because I go to church, which I rarely do, but rather because I agree with their beliefs of helping others and generally trying to be nice, but most religions have these beliefs as do most decent human beings.

Anyway... I have personally supported organisations with my time and efforts that are non-religious and religious alike. I would gladly assist Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Hare Krishna or whoever needs the help. I have never witnessed any of them try and force their beliefs on me or anyone they are helping and they are certainly not financially profiting from their activities.

What I'm trying to say is that a plate of food, a kind word, or a helping hand does not have religious overtones to me, and I suspect the hungry, cold or lonely person on Christmas day would appreciate your help no matter where you were to offer it.

No matter what you decide, I applaud you.

Have a great day and a very merry christmas.

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