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5 charitable Christmas ideas: from a fundraising light installation to a vending machine that gives

5 charitable Christmas ideas: from a fundraising light installation to a vending machine that gives

Here are five different ways to be charitable this Christmas: from a vending machine that lets people select a useful item for a homeless person, to Carnaby Street’s fundraising lights, and Aldi’s leftover Christmas Eve fresh stock giveaway.



A charitable Spaghetti Bolognese instead of Christmas dinner

New charity The Spag Bol Project has launched with a mission to help tackle the growing problem of homelessness while also aiming to cut food waste.

The scheme asks consumers to make a simple sacrifice: cut back on the extravagance of Christmas dinner and donate the cash saved to charity.

The charity takes its name from the meal, which it is promoting as one option people planning Christmas dinner could plump for instead of Champagne, turkey and all the trimmings.

The Spag Bol Project is initially supporting Centrepoint, Crisis and The Salvation Army, which are highlighted on the charity’s website, but donations to any good cause will be welcome.

The initiative is being launched with an email marketing drive to raise awareness and get people cooking something cheaper this Christmas.

Initially, the charity aims to persuade people to have a more modest Christmas meal, spending less on food and drink, and donating some or all of the money they save. The founders hope the idea becomes a way to donate all year round.


A fundraising Christmas light installation

Project Zero has launched a Christmas installation in collaboration with London’s Carnaby Street. The seascape reminds visitors of the ocean’s beauty and role in our lives and every element of the installation was created using recycled and reusable materials.

Visitors to London this festive season can ‘Tap to Donate’ £3 to Project Zero at locations throughout Carnaby including 14-18 Fouberts Place, Shakespeare’s Head Pub, JinJuu, White Horse Tavern, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, and on the hoarding at Broadwick and Carnaby.



Cards for the lonely at Christmas

This Christmas, thortful has partnered with Facebook community Postcards of Kindness to launch a range of postcards (above and main image) to help inspire memories and spark conversation at a time of year that can be difficult for some. For each postcard sold from this collection, 100% of the profits will be donated to Dementia Adventure.

The concepts were developed by people living with dementia who are part of Dementia Adventure’s Special Interest Group. The designs were brought to life by some of thortful’s community of creators.

Victoria Weller, Managing Director of Your Health Limited and creator of the Postcards of Kindness project commented:

“We are always looking for new ways to connect our residents with other people, and encourage their involvement in the wider community.  I used to send cards to my nana about my adventures in between visits to her when I was younger. I knew then just how much those cards meant to her and was so keen for our residents to experience the happiness triggered when we receive a handwritten card just for us.

“This year we wanted to share those memories, and the anticipation of waiting for the postman with other care homes around the UK and beyond. We are so proud of the project and how far it has reached and know that people will support us in sharing festive memories with our elderly community and care homes in the group.”

A5 cards are available via the website and postcards can be purchased via the app that can be downloaded here:


A charitable vending machine

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has launched a charitable vending machine in London’s South Kensington, where people can give a hot supper or winter coat for someone in need, or provide mosquito netting for a family or sports equipment for a child, instead of buying themselves a drink or bar of chocolate.

London joins nine cities around the world with a charitable vending machine this month, with the charities for the London Giving Machine being Glass Door Homeless Charity, Hammersmith and Fulham Food Bank, International Medical Corp, Royal British Legion and Solidarity Sports.

The Giving Machines are part of the #LightTheWorld campaign led by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which asks people to take the 25 days leading up to Christmas and turn it into a season of service, lifting and helping others in small and simple ways. The Church will cover all administrative costs for the Giving Machines to ensure 100% of donations go directly to charity.

Last year, machines in just five cities raised $2.3 million in 38 days during the holiday season. This year, the machines will be in 10 cities throughout the world, where they hope to make an even bigger impact.



Aldi gives away its Christmas Eve leftovers

Aldi will once again be giving away its unsold fresh food to local organisations on Christmas Eve.

This is the third year Aldi has run the scheme, which is using online platform Neighbourly to manage the distribution.

Earlier in the year it asked charities to contact it if they were interested in benefitting from the offer so they could be put in touch with their local store. Each store could partner with one charity, which will be able to collect the food after the shop closes on Christmas Eve.

In December 2018, 500 stores took part, helping 502 charities, and providing almost 500,000 meals. This year, every Aldi store is taking part.


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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