Giving Back at LJG – Josh Moreland, Bethany Christian Trust Caring Christmas Trees

Hamilton Forth and the wider Livingston James Group give all employees two CSR days a year to allow them to get involved with charities or organisations of their choice on a voluntary basis.  Here Hamilton Forth’s Josh Moreland shares his experiences volunteering with the Bethany Christian Trust’s annual Caring Christmas Trees event.

It was an extremely cold November afternoon back in 2014 when my flatmate had asked me whether I would be free on to help with some extra-curricular activities. In truth, this usually involved one of the three F’s – food, football, or a film. But, on this occasion it was actually to see if I wished to participate in Bethany Christian Trust’s annual Caring Christmas Tree event – netting and distributing trees of multiple sizes in and around Edinburgh and the Lothians.

I have since volunteered every year with Bethany and consider the organisation to be one of the most worthwhile charities I have ever come across. Bethany was formed in 1983 and today focusses on three streams of life-changing services:

  • Homelessness prevention
  • Crisis intervention
  • Housing and support

Bethany’s annual Caring Christmas Tree event has matured every year that I have volunteered. The concept is fairly straight-forward – the trust has access to a farm where hundreds of trees are planted and grown every year. These trees are then sold via the website to customers who can collect them from a number of sites in the month of December – personally I have helped in Edinburgh, Midlothian, and Glasgow.

There are a few aspects of the Caring Christmas Tree event which appeal to me – firstly, the fact that the money raised from the sale of them is used to address the streams highlighted above. Secondly, they are real trees – they look great, they have a Christmassy smell about them and it’s nice to be able to help customers load up their vehicles and enjoy their tree for that particular festive period.

However, the third aspect is perhaps the most heart-warming. You get the chance to meet and work with other volunteers, all of whom have taken their time away from their work or studies, to help net the trees, carry them to the customers’ cars and, when you get a spare minute, enjoy a hot drink with, all for the good of other people for whom Christmas doesn’t mean presents and turkey, but often just another cold night to be endured.

I’m proud to be able to play my part in assisting Bethany Christian Trust with the event. It is just a tiny aspect of all the hard work that the organisation does, and the funds raised at this time of the year are critical in being able to support some of the most impoverished people and communities in and around central Scotland. Bethany runs many other fundraising schemes and I can say from personal experience, that all those associated with the charity are a wonderful bunch focussed on improving the lives of others selflessly.

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