For me, owning my own photography and videography business has always been about more than profit. My business goals are never about the money, I’ve always strived for time with my family and doing more. I took inspiration from my three year old daughter and decided to give away a whole trolley full of food.
When I was scrolling on Instagram, I saw a post from the bearded photographers (@thebeardedphotographers) where they talked about donating a percentage of all their bookings to Great Ormond Street Hospital. It was like a light bulb moment for me and I was inspired to use my business to benefit more than just myself and my clients. I got to thinking about what charities were close to my heart that I could support.
I had so many ideas about who I could support and what I could do, beyond donating money, that I knew I wouldn’t be able to narrow it down to one charity. After thinking it through, I came up with a plan to choose one charity or organisation each month to support. Rather than donate a percentage of my bookings, as that can fluctuate from month to month, I decided that I’d set myself a £50 budget and do more than just donate the money.
Every week when I go food shopping with my family, my daughter picks out two or three items that she wants us to buy and donate to the food bank. It’s been such an amazing talking point for us as a family and an opportunity for her to understand that not everyone has the privilege of going out and doing a weekly food shop. She loves getting to pick out the items and, as parents, it makes us so proud to see her put the things she has chosen into the donation box knowing that it could help other people including families just like ours. Our daughter has taken it even further and started asking her grandparents to buy something for the foodbank when she goes shopping with them. When thinking about what to do for January’s donation, I took inspiration close to home and decided to do a £50 food shop for the food bank.
I first checked on the Trussell Trust website (Find a Food Bank - The Trussell Trust) to see which were the most in demand items for the food bank as I didn’t want to do a shop full of baked beans and pasta if they were already overrun with those items. There is a general list on the website of what items would be best to donate (Donate Food - The Trussell Trust) but most local food banks share the items they need the most on their own social media so I used that to inspire my shopping list.
Armed with my shopping list and my £50 budget, I headed to the local Sainsbury’s and grabbed a scanner. As I went around the shop I was able to keep track of how many items I had and what I was spending.
In total, going over my budget by just one penny, I managed to pick up 57 items including washing up liquid, sponges, biscuits, UHT milk, juice, shower gel and more!
The next day, my wife, my daughter and I went to the local food bank to drop off the donations. My daughter helped take everything out of the bags and put it into their collection crates so that the volunteers could sort and pack the food parcels for those who needed them.
Seeing your three year old happily giving away biscuits and snacks, because she knows that other people need them more than we do, does really make you stop and think. I am so incredibly lucky and grateful to be in the position that I am right now. I have been able to quit my full time job and earn a living from doing the thing that I love. Not many people can say that and this has been a dream for me so getting to live it is something that I will always be grateful for. I know that not everyone is quite so lucky, for some people having the food to feed their children is a daily struggle. A struggle that any one of us could very quickly find ourselves facing in the blink of an eye.
You might be wondering, why have I chosen to talk about this? Isn’t it better to do the good deed quietly rather than shout about it? It’s a very good question and one that I considered before sharing what I was doing. I decided that actually sometimes when you do something good, you should shout it from the rooftops. Not for people to say well done or give you a pat on the back but what if, by talking about what I’ve done, I inspire one person to go and donate to a food bank. What if I inspire two or three people to start picking up a couple of bits in their weekly shop to donate? What if I’m able to inspire others in the very way that my daughter inspired me? Wouldn’t that be an opportunity to start a conversation and encourage other people to think about how they could do more and how they could value people over profit.
If reading this has inspired you in any small way, please, start a conversation. Even if you’re not in a position to financially support your local food bank, or any other charity, I would urge you to start talking to others, see who else you could inspire just with your words.
I am taking suggestions and nominations for other local charities that I can support over the coming months so if you have one in mind that you’d like to talk about, please reach out to me via email (email@example.com) or start a conversation on Instagram @tomjugginsweddings