TODAY is St Andrew’s Day, which presents an excellent opportunity to engage in an act of kindness and make a difference in someone’s life.

Many struggle in the run-up to Christmas and by performing one good deed you can help lighten the load for someone or else brighten up their day.

Below are just a few ways you can get involved.

READ MORE: Our St Andrew's Day poem: Dave the Chancer, by Kevin McKenna

1. Trussell Trust food banks will benefit from the UK’s biggest food collection; #EveryCanHelps, is running until tomorrow [Saturday December 1]. Each participating food bank is partnered with a local Tesco store, where customers are being encouraged to buy an extra item or two of food in store and donate it at the collection point on their way out.

2. West Dumbartonshire Community Foodshare is collecting toys and gifts for kids aged 0-16, as well as food and toiletries. Donations can be made at Alexandria Community Centre on Thursdays from 11am-12.30pm, Dumbarton Concord Centre on Fridays from 11am-12.30pm, and The Hub Community Centre in Clydebank on Fridays from 1pm-2.30pm.

3. Highland Foodbank has been running a reverse advent calendar appeal encouraging donors to put together hampers containing everything from toothpaste and rice to mince pies. See the website for the list of requested items, and hand in hampers to the food bank at 1 Glebe Street, Inverness or any Blytheswood Care shop before the end of next week.

4. Kingdom FM is running a Festive Food Appeal in association with Port of Rosyth, Forth Ports Scotland to fill Fife’s food banks for Christmas. In addition to non-perishable food items, donations of toiletries and children’s clothing will be gratefully received at seven collection points through the kingdom.

5. Angela Crawley, the SNP MP for Hamilton South, is again running a Christmas Toy Drive in conjunction with Hamilton District Food Bank, requesting donations of toys that will be distributed to disadvantaged children in South Lanarkshire. Hand in donations to The Hub in Campbell Street, Hamilton until December 21.

6. Bauer Radio stations across the country are collecting gifts for children at risk of waking up to nothing on Christmas morning with its Mission Christmas appeal. New, unwrapped items can be donated at dozens of drop-off points around the country until Tuesday December 18. The campaign supports children from birth to 18, but always struggles most with gifts for babies and teenagers (especially boys). Search on the website to find your local station and drop-off points. Across Glasgow and the West of Scotland they run a cash appeal to fulfil the high number of cash grants that they receive, which will see more than £800,000 being distributed to local.

7. The Glasgow’s Spirit of Christmas Facebook group collates Christmas gift requests from a huge range of organisations including social work departments, women’s aid groups and children’s homes. Join the group to pledge gifts (new items in Christmas gift bags) by gender and age group then arrange delivery directly with the charity. There is also a £5 gift voucher appeal for looked-after children living in all 32 local authorities in Scotland. (Facebook group)

8. Who Cares? Scotland makes sure that care-experienced people have a family to be part of on Christmas day. The charity puts on a family Christmas dinner in Glasgow that’s open to care-experienced people from across Scotland, and also aims to send more than 2000 Christmas cards to give care-experienced people receive a reminder that they’re not alone. You can support Care Family Christmas by donating gifts at the office at 5 Oswald Street, Glasgow (for over-16s: gift vouchers are great, as are good toiletry gift sets), donating cash towards meals or a young person’s travel, or volunteering your time to help on the day. The charity is also colleting sanitary products that young women can take home with.

9. The Charity Retail Association, which represents 85% of charity shops in Scotland, is running a Christmas campaign “Good Cause Santa Claus”, encouraging everyone taking part in a Secret Santa, buying the anonymous gifts from charity shops. They’ve produced a special campaign pack to encourage companies to get involved.

10. Do you enjoy singing or can you play a musical instrument? Glasgow Pensioners for Independence are setting up a wee musical group to go round senior citizens’ lunch clubs and day centres singing Christmas songs (after January they will move on to Burns songs). You don’t have to be professional standard – just able to keep a tune. The group will only be singing well-known songs. They’ll be reading off song sheets which will be handed out to those attending the centres so they can join in. For further information contact Mary McCabe, Co Convener of Pensioners for Independence on

11. The Salvation Army is aiming to spread as much festive cheer as possible to those in need. Leaders of its community churches are encouraging people to add an extra toy to their shopping list so that every Christmas tree can have a surprise underneath it. The Christmas Present Appeal is this year expected to benefit around 5000 young people. Fresh food hampers, put together from donations and the proceeds of carolling, will also be distributed to families and people referred by local social workers and agencies. Find your nearest Salvation Army church or centre at

12. Scotland’s 24 mountain rescue teams provide assistance to walkers and climbers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – even if it means being called away from their families during the festive period. You can donate to your local team or to co-ordinating body Scottish Mountain Rescue.

13. Social Bite, the social enterprise aiming to end homelessness in Scotland, feeds and gives presents to homeless people at Christmas. You can donate cash, or “pay it forward” when visiting a Social Bite social enterprise cafe.

14. Bethany Christian Trust is running its Care Shelter Christmas Gift Voucher scheme for the second year, where supporters have the opportunity to purchase a gift for people who are homeless to stay at its Winter Care Shelter in Edinburgh. For every £21 voucher purchased, the shelter will provide shelter from 9:30pm till 7am, support from professional staff, a hot-two course meal plus breakfast in the morning, and access to a range of professional on-site services

15. Glasgow based charity Simon Community Scotland and its sister organisation in Edinburgh, Streetwork Scotland, have compiled a list of gifts that will help someone who is homeless or on the streets this Christmas, and are seeking donations via an Amazon gift list. Items requested in the 12 Days of Giving campaign include pyjamas, toiletries, thermal underwear and sleeping bags.

16. Refuweegee delivers more than 100 welcome packs every month to refugees, containing essential items like toiletries and stationery, plus Scottish items and "Letters fae the locals". They also take donations of household items, toys and clothing, and are currently appealing for hats, gloves and scarves in particular. Check the website for details of drop-off points and more guidance on what to donate.

17. The Christmas appeal by Children’s hospice charity CHAS helps ensure babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions are able to enjoy a family Christmas – either in their own home or in one of the charity’s hospices, Rachel and Robin House.

If you are running any events, fundraisers or collections in the run up to Christmas, drop us a line at