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How to give back at Christmas

One of the best things about Christmas is the positive change you can bring to someone’s life. Whether it’s a charity you support or a meal you donate, now’s the time to up the feel-good factor.

Shout someone a coffee or meal at Good 2 Go

Down colourful Hosier Lane, coffee shop Good 2 Go works to brighten the lives of young people experiencing homelessness or poverty. You can shout someone a coffee or meal through their pay-it-forward scheme. Or just support this vital social enterprise with your patronage. The cafe also mentors disadvantaged young people, providing them with hospitality training and life skills.

People standing outside a cafe in a street art covered laneway

Good to Go

Visit the Gingerbread Village

Marvel at a miniature Melbourne made out of biscuits and help a good cause at the Gingerbread Village by Epicure. On until Christmas Eve, the village is a remarkable feat of baking that also raises money for charity. This year, proceeds will be going to the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, so give generously. You can even sign up as a volunteer to help welcome visitors and collect donations.

A miniature model of the big sports stadium made from gingerbread

The Gingerbread Village by Epicure

Grab lunch or coffee from a social enterprise cafe

Spend your lunch money wisely by getting your coffee or meal from a cafe with a mission to help others. Streat at Melbourne Central offers hospitality training to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. This gives them a fresh start in life. Kinfolk serves amazing seasonal food that tastes even better when you realise all the profits go to charity. And at House of Cards Espresso you get to choose which cause you’d like the cafe to donate to.

Buy a re-usable coffee cup for someone

Do your bit to stop the scourge of disposable coffee cups by encouraging a friend to go greener. Reusable cups make a great gift and you can buy them at several locations around the city. Find Keep Cups at Seven Seeds, Melbournaliaand Top 3 By Design. For Frank Green cups, head to Readings Books and Music in Carlton or Sensory Lab. Or get a chic ceramic reusable cup at Clementine’s. And you can tell your friend that good deeds do pay off – heaps of cafes new offer discounts when you BYO cup.

A hand holding a reusable coffee cup with a flower stall in the background

Buy a reusable cup for your daily coffee

Drink an African beer at Polēpolē

Women for Women in Africa is a volunteer-run charity. They help children and families living in Nairobi’s giant Kibera slum. To help raise funds for the organisation’s essential work, simply order an African beer or cider at Polēpolē. Profits go to help with education, training and nutrition.

Take the family to Carols by Candlelight

Be part of one of Melbourne’s most beloved holiday traditions and take your family to Carols by Candlelight at the Myer Music Bowl. Now in its 81st year, this heart-warming Christmas Eve event gathers thousands of voices, young and old, singing with joy and hope. All funds raised go to Vision Australia, to help children who are blind or have low vision.

More ways to make a difference

There are many ways to help people find pathways out of homelessness this festive season. Donate money or goods to organisations that provide both immediate help and the crucial, long-term support needed to exit homelessness. Support someone individually, by buying a copy of The Big Issue magazine or 2020 calendar. Or volunteer with a homelessness support organisation through Volunteering Victoria. Read more at Six tips for better Christmas giving.