Five charities that help us to help others

In the face of the need we see daily, in our community and beyond, most of us want to help . But sometimes, it is hard to know just where to start. 

The following charities will help turn good intentions into effective action by steering our time and resources in the right direction. Of course, they are not alone and there are many others equally worthy. If you have a favourite charity offering services you think our readers should hear about, you can sing their praises by dropping us a line.

Mummies Paying it Forward

Mummies Paying it Forward is a Sydney-based community group that gives us a way to offer practical, material help to people in need. The group collects donations of new and used items such as clothing, toys and toiletries at over 30 drop-off points across Sydney and distributes the items to various charities.

Founded in December 2014 by paediatric nurse and mother of four,  Fatma Elzein, the group has grown from a handful of Fatma's friends, to over 10,000 members in less than two years.

Mummies Paying it Forward has made a real impact in the life of vulnerable people in the community including the homeless,  women escaping domestic violence, disadvantaged children and asylum seekers.

You can join their Facebook group to  find out what donations they are currently accepting, and to locate your nearest drop off point.


Give Now

Do you have several pairs of football boots  your kids have grown out of? A bicycle no one rides, toys no one has played with or a smart suit that you've only worn once?  And do you have a sense of the waste of it all gathering dust when you know that someone else could put these things to good use?  How do you find that someone? That's where GiveNow comes in.

GiveNow's Other Ways to Give page directs you to charities who can distribute your gear. Because they are linked to organisations throughout Australia you have a better chance of finding somewhere close that you can take your things and you can target organisations you'd especially like to help. We are all naturally drawn to different causes and GiveNow allows us to steer our efforts into causes we feel passionate about and most able to help. 

And its not just things that GiveNow distributes.The Give Now website offers literally thousands of ways for you to give your time,  money,  skills, resources and even your connections, to assist those in need.

Two Good

You eat one. They treat one. Who knew that giving could taste so good?

Two Good is a Sydney based charity with an innovative model making a real difference in the lives of women in domestic violence shelters.  Established by Rob Caslick and Cathal Flaherty only last year, Two Good has already managed to send over 12,000 lunches to shelters in Sydney, with as many going to appreciative recipients like you and me.

Using recipes from top chefs including Neil Perry, Kylie Kwong and Peter Gilmore, Two Good employs women from the shelters they serve and pays them above award rates to  create delicious meals which can be ordered online. For every lunch ordered Two Good donates the same to a Domestic Violence Shelter or soup kitchen in NSW.

Two Good have recently launched Two Good Breakfast to supply healthy breakfasts to disadvantaged schools, by selling organic muesli and granola through their online service. And they have just expanded  their enterprise to Melbourne where sales of Two Good Meals will support The Safe Futures and St Mary's House of Welcome.

All the details about ordering from Two Good, including minimum orders and delivery areas can be found here.

Fitted For Work

They say clothes maketh the man and of course the same can be said for women too. The right clothing and a few tricks of the trade can help give a woman the confidence she needs to take on the toughest of challenges. And that's where Fitted for Work, and you, can make a real difference. Fitted for Work helps women experiencing disadvantage to break through barriers to get work and keep it.

Based in Sydney and Melbourne, Fitted for Work outfits women in attire that is professional and carefully co-ordinated to make clients look and feel good about themselves. For someone out of work such attire is hard to find but many of us have perfectly good work clothes that we no longer wear that could be just the thing that someone else needs.

What do you have in your wardrobe that you've outgrown, or not found the need for in recent times? Fitted for work take donations of clothing, accessories, handbags and footwear. Donated items do not need to be from expensive labels but should be clean and interview appropriate. Fitted for work will also gratefully accept unused and unopened make-up, hygiene products and stockings.

You can download the clothing donation guidelines here

Red Cross Blood Service

This last one is an obvious one and although it's something most of us can do with little effort, we often don't think of it or realise just how important and life-saving our donations can be.  Blood and platelets donated through Blood Service centres throughout Australia go towards such things as the treatment of cancer and blood disorders  as well as enabling life-saving transfusions.

Donating blood takes only an hour out of your day and you get a free drink and a snack at the end! The friendly Red Cross staff explain each step and monitor donors to make sure it all runs smoothly. You needn't worry about side effects for most people feel absolutely fine after donating blood. In fact, you're likely to feel pretty good about yourself.

Blood donation services are available throughout Australia and centres can be located here. If you want to help on a larger scale you can join RED25 and motivate your workplace, community group, school or university to help save more lives through blood donation.