If you are planning to make a charitable gift to a worthy organization before the end of the year, you may want to consider making that gift to the St Vincent de Paul Society today. A secret benefactor has promised to match, pound-for-pound, any donation made to the SVP on what has become known as Giving Tuesday, which this year falls on 1 December.
Giving Tuesday has become a worldwide fundraising phenomenon since its launch in 2012, and currently holds the world record for the most money raised online for charity in 24 hours. The campaign, which is supported by Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, Michelle Obama, Stephen Fry, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, among others, raised over £14.2 million for UK causes last year. It is widely seen as a compassionate counterpoint to the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The SVP’s own national campaign, Rise to the Challenge, has been chosen to spearhead the Society’s Giving Tuesday push, with funds going towards its Covid-19 Recovery Programme.
Covid-19 has changed our way of life, and for some of the most vulnerable people it has been devastating. The SVP offers support, both emotional and practical, to those struggling under lockdown.
The SVP is also fighting food poverty and the prejudice surrounding it. The Society has seen a three-fold increase in requests for food in the period from March to October this year. Similarly, the Trussell Trust received 1.9 million requests for food parcels in the year to March 2020, with figures expected to increase significantly as the UK recession bites. The SVP has stepped up its food parcel service, along with ‘knock and drop’ deliveries for those who are unable to go to shops for basic items and medication.
For the UK’s rough sleepers, the pandemic has dealt a catastrophic blow. According to a study in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine, outbreaks of Covid-19 “in homeless settings can lead to a high attack rate among people experiencing homelessness, even if incidence remains low in the general population.” As the winter reduces temperatures, the SVP is handing out ‘Vinnie Packs’, providing essentials such as warm clothing, hygiene basics and information on well-being. The packs have become a lifeline for thousands living on the streets.
For most of us, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years on record, but Giving Tuesday is a way of ending the year on a positive note by giving something back to the charities who have supported communities through the darkest times.
SVP President Helen O’Shea is asking for those who wish to help to donate to the SVP’s Rise to the Challenge campaign on Tuesday to donate online or telephone +44 020 7703 3030. Remember, each pound you donate will be matched by an anonymous benefactor.